Sunday, April 26, 2020

Album Review: Jackie Myers- Clementine

I was surprised to encounter several jazz musicians at the Sprint Center as I reviewed a James Taylor concert for The Kansas City Star in 2018.  Few of the soft rock icon’s folk-based hits possess even a smidgeon of swing.  Then again, Pat Metheny is an avowed Taylor fan.

Probably only a small fraction of the 12,000 people at Taylor’s concert were jazz enthusiasts, but I’m confident almost every one of them would enjoy Jackie Myers’ new album Clementine.  The latest release by the Kansas City keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter channels Taylor’s longtime collaborator Carole King on the project recorded at Black DolphinClementine often resembles Tapestry with the addition of a horn section.

Myers is accompanied by trumpeter Trent Austin, saxophonist Brad Gregory, guitarist Rod Fleeman, bassist Ben Tervort and drummer Todd Strait on the genial 36-minute set.  Each member of the backing band acquits himself well, but Fleeman stands out.  Although he’s not a deliberately flashy sideman, Fleeman is a longtime scene-stealer.

Myers’ sturdy songcraft on eight original compositions provides Fleeman and the other soloists with abundant inspiration.  The genial melodies and relatable lyrics of songs including “The Worst Part” wouldn’t be out of place on Tapestry.  The intersection of the singer-songwriter style and Kansas City jazz may be unconventional, but Myers’ eclecticism makes Clementine her most convincing and outright enjoyable album.

(Original image by Plastic Sax.)

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