In 2007, Justin Young had barely been a name that people recognized. But all of that changed when Justin entered the 2007 Capital Jazz Fest Competition. The competition is for up and coming artists. That year, saxophonist Justin Young was the winner and his reward was to play the jazz festival the following year as the opener for Boney James. That put his name out there.
Fast forward to December 2009, and Justin is still moving ahead like a strong force of nature. His second CD, Nothin’ But Love, shows that this young artist means business and is intent on getting to the top. The CD features Justin on soprano, alto, and tenor saxes while being accompanied by such notables as Sheldon Reynolds, Ricky Lawson, Alex Al, and Eddie Miller. While the CD contains a few cover tunes, there is so much originality in those that you forget they were done by someone else.
The CD opens with the title track and Justin on the soprano. It kicks things off with a happy, bouncy feel. This is very upbeat with a terrific melody and Sheldon Reynolds providing both vocals and guitar. “Today, Tomorrow” has Justin on the tenor and has a very Boney James tone and groove. It’s a great head bopping track with a melody that just gets stuck in your brain, and a killer mid-song guitar riff! “Catamaran Cruise” takes it down a notch, but not too much, with this beat driven, fun tune. It really shows off the artistry he has.
Covering the Michael Jackson song, “Heal the World,” Justin makes you hear that magical voice once more through his sax. It’s a wonderful tribute to the artist that gave us so much. The next cover is the Robin Thicke tune, “Lost Without U.” Justin does a great job. He makes the soprano sax his true voice, along with vocals from Eddie Miller. The remix of this tune is also the closer on the CD. On “India,” Justin takes the alto on a journey with some terrific percussion vibes giving way to a unique sound. He really puts all of his passion into playing on this one.
Taking things a bit slower, Justin picks up the soprano for a feel good tune called, “Song For A Better Tomorrow.” And it does make you feel better. Its light-hearted sound makes you feel hopeful. “Interlude” is a joint effort of soprano sax and keyboards that nearly brings you to tears. It leads the way into the Billy Joel cover “Just The Way You Are,” which I didn’t recognize until it got to the chorus. Justin puts his own artistic spin on this one to make it his own and not just a replay. Nice job. “When Somebody Loves You Back” is a cover of the Teddy Pendergrass song, with the tenor sax taking the lead and background vocals from Glorianna Anaya, which add just enough depth. Justin really excels on the tenor and finds his “voice” here. Finally, “Road To Hana,” written by Justin and his Dad, Jimmy, and featuring Jimmy on acoustic guitar, has a fun, light tone. If radio stations were around, this would be their cup of tea! It has just enough jazz, and a hard rock guitar solo from Eddie Miller! Great track.
Expect to see more from this up and coming sax player. Justin Young has a lot to offer to this genre and is just getting started!