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True Love

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Album Review

The problem with attacking easy targets in order to make a point is that they're, well, too easy to attack. Take smooth jazz, for example. If one's premise is that smooth jazz in general is bland, mindless, and devoid of substance, it's easy to make that point by lambasting Kenny G, Richard Elliot, and other whipping boys of the jazz media. But when names like Grover Washington, Jr., George Benson, and David Sanborn are brought into the discussion, it becomes much harder to make the argument that nothing worthwhile ever came out of smooth jazz. And even though True Love, the third album by smooth jazz saxophonist Jessica Arellano, aka Jessy J, has its shortcomings, it would be a mistake to dismiss her as a lightweight. Actually, True Love has more ups than downs. Jessy's sound is Washington-minded, but with a strong Latin influence — and unlike so many of the Washington admirers in smooth jazz, she obviously cares about projecting a sound and identity of her own. True Love is smooth jazz meets Latin jazz; Jessy is a Mexican-American from the West Coast, although this 2009 release gets its inspiration from Afro-Cuban salsa ("Baila!," "Tropical Rain"), Brazilian samba ("Brazilian Dance," Luiz Bonfá's familiar "Manha de Carnaval"), and Spanish nuevo flamenco (the title song) more than the regional Mexican music (ranchera, mariachi, norteño, banda, duranguense, grupero, etc.) that is hugely popular in the southwestern United States. Occasionally, Jessy (who is primarily an instrumentalist) sings on True Love — and while she is a better saxophonist than singer, her vocals have a sweetly pleasant quality. Jessy, unfortunately, does play it a bit too safe on True Love and doesn't let loose as much as she could; this is a generally decent effort, but she is capable of much more. Nonetheless, True Love demonstrates that Jessy has talent, chops, and originality and is well worth keeping an eye on.

Biography

Born: 28 December 1982 in Portland, OR

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Jazz saxophonist Jessy J was born Jessica Arellano in Portland, Oregon to parents who had emigrated from Mexico. She grew up in Hemet, California and began playing the piano at age four, spending her childhood studying and performing in musical competitions. At 15, she was named Piano State Champion at the Béla Bartók Festival in California. Later, she switched instruments to the saxophone. After graduating from the University of Southern California with a degree in jazz studies, she turned professional,...
Full bio
True Love, Jessy J
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  • 6,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 04 August 2009

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