Just Cooling
Jerry Johnson
Jerry Johnson
May 11, 2010

Track list
  1. Just Cooling
  2. Let Love In
  3. Breaking Up
  4. Reggae Soldier
  5. Olivia
  6. Ballroom Ska
  7. I Believe In Love
  8. I Miss You Mom
  9. Break Your Promise
  10. Discovery Bay Ska
  11. City Vibes
  12. House Of The Rising Ska
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Lead Instrument : 5 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
From the early Ska days up to now a number of great sax players have played their part on countless recordings including many now regarded as bonafide classics. Names such as Tommy McCook, Roland Alphonso, Cedric 'Im' Brooks, Val Bennett, Herman Marquis, Lester Sterling, Deadley Headley and Dean Fraser are well known to any fan of Jamaican popular music. Probably lesser known but certainly as good as the aforementioned illustrious Jamaican musicians is Jerry Johnson. The latter, born in the Bronx NY to a Jamaican father and a Bajan mother, is best known for the five years he spent with Steel Pulse, both touring and recording, from 1992. Besides that he performed and recorded with endless reggae greats including Sugar Minott, John Holt, Ken Boothe, Horace Andy, Leroy Sibbles, Shaggy, Fred Locks, Judy Mowatt, The Meditations, Sister Carol, Burning Spear, The Skatalites, Big Mountain, Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, Cedric 'Im' Brooks, Maxi Priest, U-Roy, Beres Hammond, Ky-Mani Marley and the late greats Alton Ellis and Dennis Brown.

Apart from having played on other artists' records, Jerry Johnson has also released a few solo albums including "The Score", "For All Seasons", "Reggae Vibes" and "Saxman Special". And now there's another album, appropriately titled "Just Cooling". From beginning to end this 12 track instrumental album treats the listener to the smooth and mellow sounds of an outstanding saxophonist, who is expertly backed by an all-star band including Jerry Johnson's fellow Steel Pulse bandmates, Clark Gayton (trombone) and Sidney Mills (keyboards), along with Joseph Brady (trumpet), Neville Anderson (trombone), Wilfred Mellers (keyboards & drum programming), and Coozie Mellers (keyboards & guitar). Included here are such great originals as the title track "Just Cooling", "Reggae Soldier", "I Miss You Mom" and "City Vibes" as well as instrumental interpretations of reggae classics such as Dennis Brown's "Let Love In", Alton Ellis' Studio One hit "Breaking Up", and furthermore The Whispers' "Olivia", The Delfonics' "Break Your Promise" and The Animals' "House Of The Rising Sun". Perhaps the most surprising version Jerry Johnson did for this album is Maxi Priest's "I Believe In Love", which was one of the best tunes on Donovan Bennett's "Drop Leaf" riddim. Although most tracks are a joy to hear, "Ballroom Ska" and "Discovery Bay Ska" are definitely the ones to look out for.

Any lover of real good instrumental albums will surely appreciate this solid set.

To purchase the cd for a fair price go to Ray Hurford's Small Axe website.