The JT Project | Moments of Change

The JT Project -- Moments of Change

The JT Project | Moments of Change
Trippin’ & Rhythm’
by Peggy Oliver

Jacob Webb and Todd Schefflin were ready to execute a potent plan in demonstrating their special flair for contemporary jazz. Through their earlier recordings on their namesake label, The JT Project were exercising their gifts and musical training in preparing for the bigger spotlight. Their 3-volume Love Passion Correspondence series focused on their raw passion for fusion, straight-ahead jazz and everything in between, whether it was the funky be-bop flavor for Just Bounce or neo-soul vocal collaborations on L.P.C. Vol. 3. Though The JT Project always had a loyal following on numerous east coast contemporary jazz stations and gigs with Micki Howard, Mulgrew Miller and others, it was 2014 that broke the ice as far as their talents deserved. Their well thought-out artistic plan earned them a special selection by Valerie Simpson (Ashford and Simpson) for The ASCAP Foundation’s “Reach Out and Touch” Award honoring Nick Ashford. Their first major single, “Jet Setters” from Under the Covers, also charted Number 5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts. Eventually, their plan in developing their distinctive jazz voice opened another door to Trippin’ & Rhythm’/Sony Entertainment, a company that is already expanding upon the contemporary urban market.

JT Project’s maiden voyage with Trippin’ & Rhythm, Moments of Change, showcases several stylistic shades of contemporary jazz, including a few reconstructed perspectives of tracks from the L.P.C. series. The debut single, “Overdrive,” delivers a gospel aftertaste with thumping beats and sweet synthesizer fills. Acid jazz receives its fair due with “Talk About It” and the title track sprinkled with jack swing’esqe samples. One of the ultimate moments on Moments of Change shines on the be-bop, swing-fueled “Song for kg,” guided by snappy percussive hits. Shifting to an old-school R&B vibe, “Limbo” echoes a bit of the Caribbean-based dance craze, graced by Todd’s nimble saxophone lines and capped with lots of crackling bass.

On a slower tip, S.O.A.R (signed to JT Project Records) joins Jacob and Todd for the gentle Latin breeze of “Good Ole Jim,” climaxed by a vibrant trumpet solo matched by saxophone swagger. “Love Passion Correspondence” is inspired from their series of previous releases with a stripped down saxophone/acoustic piano duo that floats on air before Todd’s saxophone bursts into a colorful display of glee. The power waltz of “Daddy I Miss You” captures the somberness of losing one’s father.

This entertaining pair is filled with musical artistic smarts. However, there are moments on Moments of Change that fall into the too smooth abyss – i.e. “Don’t Blink” and “Holding On To Love.” Otherwise, The JT Project’s master plan for greater contemporary jazz glory should perk even more ears in the very near future. Four out of five stars.

Peggy Oliver
The Urban Music Scene