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Jezza on EvO:R
What Experts are saying about Jeza
To me this is an example of why the record industry is so dumb. These tracks
are professional in every sense, catchy without being overly commercial, and
well written without being over complicated.
I myself would listen over and
over, but presuming Jeza isn't on a record label, it's criminal. It's all
about who you know, and not what you do, because if it were the latter, Jeza
would be a household name by now.
From start to finish the music of Jeza wanders musically and instrumentally thru a gauntlet of
stylings and 'feels'... Recorded by an International cast of players who 'get it' when it comes
to helping Jeza's songs come to life. Jeza has his own distinct vocal style and a very cool sense
of phrasing that he 'signs' each of his songs with. There is an International feel and sound to
his music that moves freely across all borders...
Jeza-Man in the Mirror
© 2003 Jeza
I am an eclectic guy when it comes to music and film and other forms of expression. Too much of
the same thing, no matter how inspired or interesting that thing is, has diminishing returns for
me as a fan or as an artist. So it will come as no surprise that I am particularly impressed by
musical artists who can skillfully and gracefully draw from a broad array of styles and flavors,
and blend those ingredients into an original and genre-defying musical identity. An excellent
example is UK singer/songwriter Jeza, who in late 2003 released "Man in the Mirror", the follow
up to his widely-acclaimed 1999 album "Wined Up".
At first, I thought it a bit odd that Jeza included the phrase "crossover jazz rock pop" on the
front and back of this album. Apparently, he knows many fans tend to categorize or label their
favorite music, and Jeza's music doesn't fit neatly into any one or two standard genres, so he
went ahead and gave us a label to use to describe what is inside. How accurate is this self-applied
description? I'd say it works pretty well, better than anything else I could come up with.
The jazz element is most evident in an overtly swing piece like "Sister J", but a pervasive jazz
feel is also clearly reflected in many of the other songs: the chord changes and voicings
("Man in the Mirror"), the improvisatory instrumental work
("Dancin' in the Rain",
"Chasing After Wind"), and Jeza's rich and adventurous vocal delivery ("One Fine Day").
Jeza obviously maintains a warm spot in his heart for classic rock, particularly of the 60's-era
psychedelic variety. John Hoare's sinuous and haunting lead guitar soars and rings on several
recordings, including "Darkness" and "One Fine Day". On the final reprise "One Fine Night", John's
more muscular tone puts an emphatic exclamation point at the end of the album. Jeza doesn't resort
to big drum and bass sounds to satisfy his need to rock, sticking instead to much more restrained
drums, trebly bass parts and liberal use of hand percussion, reminding me of mid-60's rock bands
like early Grateful Dead or Big Brother and the Holding Company.
The pop part of Jeza's self-categorization is certainly well-deserved. This is not "pop" in the
mindless, mass-produced meaning, but instead the kind of pop whose litmus test is passing the
critical "can you remember the hook?" test. I think "One Fine Day", "Man in the Mirror",
"Tower of Babel" and "Chasing After Wind" all do well in this regard. Jeza happily dips into other popular
music forms, delivering a convincing blues tune ("
Watching the Cellphone"), an authentic reggae
groove ("Never Go Away"),
and a seductive bossa ("Dancin' in the Rain").
Even elements of dance/techno
grooves show up unexpectedly ("Ballad of Killy Beggs",
I should point out that this album maintains the level of intelligence and introspection established
on "Wined Up". Jeza follows his lyrical muse through big political and philosophical topics and more
intimate and personal subjects with equal passion and wit. Never does he get too overtly intellectual
or preachy, though, managing to keep each song honest and humble, something the listener can relate to.
By folding all this together with the term "crossover", Jeza gives the listener fair warning that
in his world, anything can go with anything if it works musically. Proudly defying any particular
genre restrictions, and refusing to "dumb-down" in an attempt to achieve lowest-common-denominator
popularity, Jeza's "Man in the Mirror" is a success on many levels.
This is an album that will satisfy the hunger of open-minded music fans yearning for a rich
stew in a world of musical junk food and imitation flavors. C M
Simply click the CD cover to order your copy from our friends at CDBaby.com
Jeza-Man in the Mirror
© 2003 Jeza
One Fine Day I
Dancin' in the rain I
Sister J I
Man in the Mirror I
Ballad of Killy Beggs I
Blues Evolution I
Tower of Babel I
Never go away I
Chasing after wind I
PBR Saximix - 1991 I
YTO Pianimix - 1991 I
One Fine Night I
© 1999 Jeza
I How can I help you? I
Place by the river I
You're the one I