Hot Sauceis the third album by renowned smooth jazz artist Jessy J. Not to be confused with the British singer/song-writer of the same (but differently-spelled) name, Jessy J—the J stands for Jazz—has made a place for herself in the contemporary jazz world, and her music is funky and fun.
Jessy J grew up playing the piano in California, where she won the Piano State Competition at age 15. She went on to attend USC and graduated with a degree in jazz studies and a commendation as the Most Outstanding Jazz Student. Despite popular opinion that it is extremely difficult to make a professional career in music, Jessy J proves that this is not always true. Her career took off after graduation, and it has allowed her to perform with such artists as Michael Bublé, Michael Bolton and The Temptations. She has also been featured on the covers of two prominent jazz magazines and won Contemporary Jazz Song of the Year in 2008 for her song ‘Tequila Moon.’ Jessy J is not only a recording artist; she also has played in Carnegie Hall with the Latin Jazz Project and performed in an off-Broadway production of Blast!
On Hot Sauce, Jessy J proves that her hard work as a professional saxophonist has paid off. Most of the songs are short but soulful, while the final track ‘Last Night’ spans a long eight minutes. The album is comprised mostly of smooth jazz tunes, meaning they share similar rhythms and instrumentation. However, the listener remains captivated due to the incredible addition of Jessy J’s solo saxophone and the change between solely instrumental tracks and those with vocals.
The title track, ‘Hot Sauce’ is one of the best songs on the album. It combines jazz saxophone with Latin beats representative of Jessy J’s heritage, and the rhythms are enchanting. However, I can’t help but be drawn to ‘We Kissed’ and ‘In a Sentimental Mood,’ two tracks the feature solo female and male vocalists, respectfully. Both have the perfect combination of slow, cool rhythms and beautiful vocals, and ‘We Kissed’ in particular is fun and romantic without being sappy.
The album features prominent jazz musicians Harvey Mason, Ray Parker Jr., Paul Brown, Joe Sample, and Saunders Sermons. Hot Sauceis a wonderful album, and while some of the tracks sound quite similar, I definitely recommend it for anyone who loves jazz or just good music.