In the 1990s, there was a phenomenon in American jazz that saxophonist Steve Lacy dubbed the "Reboppers," referring to those nattily dressed musicians in their 20s and 30s who possessed a noticeably retrograde approach. The Reboppers personified mainstream bebop from the early '50s to the mid-'60s -- excluding of course the "free" and soul-jazz movements -- before Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock sold out (i.e., went electric, got popular). While he's a sharp dresser and a member of the last edition of Art Blakey's Messengers, tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson rejects such drivel.
Inspired by the late tenor titan Joe Henderson, Jackson -- a former Clevelander -- acknowledges that tradition is important. But he also knows that you've got to build something on that foundation, and besides, who wants to remain in the same place forever? Not Jackson -- while his Blue Note albums offer imaginative hard-bop with nods to fusion and Brazilian music (accompanied by John Medeski and Vernon Reid), his latest, Have You Heard (Palmetto), finds him festive. Featuring legendary soul-jazz organist Dr. Lonnie Smith, Heard dishes up funky, immediate soul-jazz and tasty, earthy solos. Jackson's All-Star Quartet, including Benny Green and Jimmy Cobb (drummer on Miles Davis' Kind of Blue) makes the scene this Monday at Nighttown.