Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Saxman At Work
Jerry Johnson
Jerry Saxman Music
CD / Digital Release
April 19, 2015

Track list
  1. Underground Roots
  2. His Majesty Is Coming
  3. Love Is The Answer
  4. Hold Me Baby
  5. They Just Don't Know
  6. Why Did You Leave Me To Cry
  7. My Heart Belongs To You
  8. Never Love Again
  9. This Feeling
  10. Red Rose
  11. Stop The Madness
  12. This Love feat. Bunny Brissett
  13. Who's The Man
  14. Love Is Here To Stay
  15. Ska Session
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
The saxophone has been an integral element in the history of Jamaican music. There are numerous upstanding saxman active today. One of the most enduring and prolific is JERRY JOHNSON. A man who is ever progressive and delivers Royal vibration embedded deep in the Foundation. His latest excursion, "SAXMAN AT WORK" is versatility, engagement, originality and pure experience rolled into one crucial album. Play Jerry, play...

Jerry Johnson was born in New York to JA/Barbados heritage. In his youthman days, he witnessed Sugar Minott's uncle Lester play trumpet at a barbershop and was captured by the vibes. By 1971 (Junior High School days), he immersed himself in playing sax and the rest is history. His father owned "The Blue Lagoon", a club where he mingled with the likes of The Wild Bunch (feat. BUNNY RUGS), The Blues Busters, Lester Sterling, Roland Alphonso, Denroy Morgan and countless other luminaries. These experiences made an everlasting impact. He linked with Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes while playing in one of many bands, "Wreckless Breed", around the dawn of the '80's (a link that has lasted to this day). After initial session work for Wackies, Jerry's debut, "For All Seasons" is considered to be one of the premier instrumental Reggae albums of all times. He followed up with "The Score" (Wackies) that cemented his credentials. His brilliance continued with "Reggae Sax" (with Roland Alphonso), "East Of The City", "Reggae Vibes", "Brass Roots (with Neville Anderson), the incredible "Jerry Johnson Plays The Hits Of Lincoln Sugar Minott" (a reflection of decades long friendship between the two). His last release, "Many Moods Of Saxman Jerry J" (2013) is Royal! Mr. Johnson has been a part of STEEL PULSE since 1990 (on tour with them at this very moment) and played with the renowned A Team Band for years. He has toured and recorded with Sir John Holt, Sugar Minott, Dennis Brown, Alton Ellis, Jackie Mittoo, U Roy, Big Mountain, KRS One, Queen Latifah and so many more. This visionary man is constantly touring and recording and has maintained his humbleness and open Heart throughout. Absolute musician and gentleman!

"Saxman At Work" links Jerry with musicians/engineers that have been in his corner for years. Drums: Charles Mellers, Sidney Mills (Wackies, Steel Pulse) and legend Noel Alphonso. Keys: Jerry, Sidney, Courtney Mellers, Ainsworth Clarke and Earl Appleton. Bass: Ainsworth and Courtney. Guitars: Clifford Pusey and Courtney. Trumpet: longtime friend Kevin Batchelor (Wackies, Steel Pulse). Vox and DJ drops: Jerry, Sister Carol, Bunny Brissett and Daddy Marcus. Sessions took place at Cooziemels Studio, Underground Music and Nuvision with great mix from Jerry, Courtney, Jahnei Clarke and Noel. This New York based collective have decades of true experience and the chemistry is just nice.

Underground Roots is scorching! Over a thunderous riddim, Jerry soars mightily with unwavering style. He is totally original but when he relicks a classic, it's something special. He reworks In Crowd's His Majesty Is Coming (written by Fil Callender) with total class. Charles Meller's drums guide the way for Jerry to shine. So much versatility and style here! Love Is The Answer is pure smooth. Jerry is one with his instrument and communicates true emotion to the listener. Evokes memories of "For All Seasons" indeed. Mr. Batchelor nices things with his trumpet all the way. Hold Me Baby has a Lovers Rock feel with Jerry adding some nice vox. Totally engaging track that rocks and swings. They Just Don't Know is an heartfelt original. Jerry flows freely like a river over a nice blend of drum rolls and Clifford Pusey's masterful licks. Winner! My Heart Belongs To You is ethereal. Earl Appleton adds some Jackie Mittooesque keys to this cut that Jerry spices up with deep sax overtones. This man can play!

Alton Ellis' Never Love Again is visited with manners and respect. Mr. Johnson interpretations of classics are truly amazing. Mr. Ellis is certainly smiling from Mt. Zion! Vivid saxophone through and through over a flawlessly mixed riddim. Top a top! This Feeling is an easy skanker. Over a bubbling riddim, Jerry shows his versatility with Jazzy overtones that nourish Heart and Soul. Red Rose has been visited many times over the years and Jerry's style is worthy of this classic. Sister Carol drops some wicked chat to make this cut razor sharp. Stop The Madness is magic. A ranking riddim with a dash of Funk and full of flavor. Jerry is cool and deadly over this instant rewinda. Standout selection! Who's The Man is pure granite. Sister Carol drops a quick homage to Mr. Johnson and this saxman just kills it over an intoxicating musical backbone that will move your feet. Jerry is proficient in so many styles; prime example here. Love Is Here To Stay (written by Johnny Osbourne) is splendid. This one is done in ballad style with Jerry taking full control over the accomplished musicianmanship. Gem of a gem here. Ska Session lives up to its name. Daddy Marcus is crucial with some wicked drops. Jerry achieves perfection here. Certainly influenced by his countless times with Lester Sterling/Roland Alphonso(Skatalites); this track takes us back to the early 60's on a musical train with no stops. Killer!

JERRY JOHNSON's "Saxman At Work" is another great chapter in his musical journey. He has released numerous albums and always leaves us well pleased and satisfied. His original compositions are of the highest order and he strikes a natural balance with his handling of classics. This album is clean and refreshing from start to finish with no filler. There's no ceiling of the capabilities of Jerry Johnson. Plain and simple, one of the most accomplished saxmen of any genre! On stage or on record, he grabs full attention. Highest recommendation. GO DEH!!