CD Review: Chocolate Sunshine
The lovely young saxtress who captured our collective smooth jazz hearts a couple or so years back and grabbed the award for best performer in the Smooth Jazz Cruise’s Amateur Artist contest, Jazmin Ghent, is back with another delightful group of compositions meant for the heart and soul (and a few dancing feet, as well). The album, appropriately entitled Chocolate Sunshine, further cements the young lady’s place in the future of smooth jazz.
With keyboardist/composer Jonathan Fritzen, bassist Julian Vaughn, guitarist Adam Hawley, and saxman Nelson Rangell lending their helping hands and talents to the project, Ghent starts off already in great shape.
Her sax and compositional skills are already widely respected, and the material here is worthy of yet another series of stop-and-listen moments. The title track, written by Fritzen, is as much a statement of who this bright young talent is and what she embodies as it is about the radiance of the music itself.
One of the “magical” assets that Ghent possesses is the ease with which she commands the musical scale and interjects her very essence into each note, making her heavily jazz-infused/R&B music sound so very sophisticated and well-measured. Cases in point are, in addition to the title track, the flawlessly fluid “Thumpin’,” the great cover of Adele’s “Hello,” and the fancy and lilting “Good Morning Monday” (titled like a true optimist). Now, if the dance is what you came for, get with “Get There,” a bouncer with mucho pizzazz. Finally, I doubt that anyone in a pensive mood – or in a romantic mental place, for that matter — could resist the call to “Walk With Me” as Ghent’s finale beckons one to do.
Yes, once again, this young lady proves that she is where she should be in the circle of smooth jazz artists, and I’ve no doubt that she will make her presence even more prominent as time goes on and experience bestows upon her one revelation jewel after another. A+ effort for sure.
~Ronald Jackson Sept. 11, 2016
TSU Music Student’s Career Sets Sail on Smooth Jazz Cruise
Graduate student Jazmin Ghent wins “Opening Act Competition” and opens for Sirius/XM Hall of Fame concert
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The musical ship for one Tennessee State University student has set sail and is on course to take her to destinations unknown where she will have the opportunity to be a positive role model for young musicians and help define jazz music for years to come.
The Smooth Jazz Ride
When I first experienced this young lady’s considerable prowess on tenor sax, I was aboard The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2014 (which I covered here on the site, leaving the review posted for about a year). I predicted then that we’d hear more from this saxtress who won the SJC 2014 amateur artist contest. I believe she then went by the pseudonym Jazmin J, offering a most convincing and stirring arrangement of the classic “Summertime.” After just a little over a year later, she has reemerged, this time as Jazmin Ghent, with her debut release Boss.
Jazmin Deborah Ghent is a gospel, jazz and contemporary saxophonist. Born in Heidelberg, Germany and raised in Huntsville, Alabama, she became interested in music at age 5 when she began taking piano lessons. She became the Sunday School pianist at the age of 8 and often practiced with the adult musicians and church choir members. After being introduced to the saxophone in Middle School, she progressed to becoming the church pianist and saxophonist. Jazmin won numerous All State Honor Band awards. Once in high school, she discovered her passion for performing and teaching and began playing professionally in the Huntsville, Alabama area.
Jazmin won National awards such as the NAACP’s ACT-SO competition and was chosen to perform at the NAACP closing ceremony in Orlando, Florida in 2008. She was chosen for 3 consecutive years as 1st chair tenor saxophonist for the All State Jazz Band. Jazmin was offered a full tuition scholarship in 2009 to Berklee School of Music as well as Florida State University School of Music. She attended Florida State University and was lead tenor in the symphonic band and also performed with the jazz band/ensemble in several venues. Jazmin graduated in May 2013 and received a degree in Music Education.
There may be nothing new under the sun, but there’s certainly something as warm and delicious. And it’s hot. Rising star saxophonist, Jazmin Ghent’s new album, CHOCOLATE SUNSHINE, is a languid, jazzy experience. The young woman stole the hearts of contemporary jazz fans onboard the 2014 Smooth Jazz Cruise — where she won their talent competition and played with Boney James and Candy Dulfer. The Smooth Jazz Go Girl has toured with the prestigious, all-female jazz ensemble, Jazz In Pink, and has performed at world-renowned jazz festivals. Think Rehoboth, Seabreeze, Lowcountry, Red Cat, Magic City and The Florida Smooth Jazz Weekend. The 25-year old’s sophomore release comes on the heels of her debut, BOSS, which produced two Top 20 hits. CHOCOLATE SUNSHINE is sophisticated and contemporary, with hand-picked guests — hit-maker Jonathan Fritzén; groove master, bassist Julian Vaughn; in-demand guitarist, Adam Hawley; and critically-acclaimed, jazz saxophonist Nelson Rangell. Bring your sunscreen! ~SANDY SHORE