Written by James Killen
If you have not yet opened yourself up to the Jackie Venson phenomenon, it’s about time that you did. This young lady is a ball of positive energy and chock full of talent. She propels a freedom and rights agenda without anger, without accusation, but with determination that is inspiring. Her acumen at her instruments (guitar and piano) and her confidence in herself are a special testament, considering her young age of 28.
Jackie starts this disc off with a funky jazz rock number, “Flying”. It expresses an independent spirit of following one’s destiny, utilizes guitar and vocal tape loops and features Jackie’s high jazzy voice. “Fast” adds a funky bass line and some very cool silent rests to the mix for a song that warns against excess. Jackie takes us lightly into an ethereal exploration of love and life with the gentle jazzy “Mysterious”.
Venson outlines her program for changing the world in “Fight”. She doesn’t shy away from responsibility, action or exceptional guitar work on this heavy call to arms. “Transcends” really gets to the essence of Jackie’s message, saying that love transcends all negativity, and does it with an artful hard jazz-rock guitar solo.
Having seen Jackie Venson in live venues several times, I have to say that this disc only hints at the talent that this young lady exudes. Seeing her live drives all of the listener’s attention to the rhythm and blues and jazz energy that comes forth. I have to say that “Live at Strange Brew” is a better representation of Jackie’s work, but “Transcends” is by no means a disappointment. You might want to put both of them on your listening list.