Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Justin C. Gilbert Releases First Solo Project: ALIGNED

The name Justin Gilbert (or "Bishop" as many like to refer to him) goes far in the music industry these days. He's had a long road up to this point. Starting out singing and playing in his family's church, Justin was groomed into an exceptional musician! Now, years later he can be found touring with the likes of Justin Timberlake, and releasing his own debut album, ALIGNED. This release is one most thought would come way sooner, but things don't always happen as we think they should. When the time was right, a life altering moment pushed Gilbert into full devotion to his purpose. That moment in time is the reason I'm here now telling you about his debut offering.

I've been living with this album for a few weeks now...playing it non stop, getting ready for its release. I knew the moment I got my hands on the project that I would dig it...we are talking about Justin Gilbert here. If nothing else I was certain I wouldn't be disappointed. I was sold on first listen, and it was only a matter of time before I could relish in my excitement with the rest of the world. That time has come, and ALIGNED is here!! I joined a whole gang of folks in Atlanta this past Friday night for the release party. Love to Trunae for being so sweet! Justin has a dope team.  The overwhelming opinion at the end of the night was that this is an extraordinarily special presentation.  I hadn't seen that crowd all together in one room ever! Justin brought everybody out. 

From the very first track, Where I'm From..you know this isn't your everyday jazz album. It's funky,  hip hop infused, and needless to say.. it totally feels like Gilbert's hometown of Atlanta. Track two entitled, Big Shine is one of my favorite records on the project. It's coffee shop and spoken word night ready. I played it twice the first time I heard it, because one time through wasn't enough.

"Now, a classic and at the same time progressive." 

These words are used at the opening of the albums third track, and it's the perfect description!

Gimme What You Got is easily my favorite track. It honestly takes me back to summer time Chi (classic) with these elements of throwback Winans or Hawkins (gospel) somehow. All of that while infusing these more contemporary jazz moments here and there. I live for this record. It was one he chose to perform live Friday night at his album release, and the crowd loved it just as much as I do.

The song that follows GWYG is a slow groove entitled, The Creation. It features renowned hip hop violinist Ken Ford, yes.. violinist Ken Ford. What I appreciate most about this one is the all out guts to put a violinist on a real jazz record! The marriage works really well. I didn't know what to expect, but I dig it. Now,track five- The Funk is exactly what is suggests, a real groovy jam. The blend of piano and horn over the already funky track adds another layer of deliciousness to an already enjoyable musical feast!

The next piece of this album's journey is a fun track entitled, Dance! From the moment it starts I automatically envision a room full of happy people cutting a step in their finest clothes. This will definitely be one listeners love, because it's an instant mood booster! It's the perfect song for any happy occasion. You literally can't help the urge to move on this one.

Smoke & Coffee reincorporates vocals to the album, in the flawless way that only Chantae Cann and Ametria Dock can. For many jazz lovers this will be a favorite. I think we really get to experience Justin enjoying his keys on this one too! It's a ride! By the time you reach this point of the album, you have no clue what to expect next! Justin and his friends have given you so much to enjoy musically, there is no way to call just where he's taking you. Well, what could be better than to end the album with a couple of motivational offerings?

Try Again features his Justin Timberlake family- The Tennessee Kids along with another favorite artist of mine, PJ Morton. This one will no doubt come as a welcomed surprise to most. You can't have enough songs that motivate like this one does. Ironically the last track, Life feels so much like the beginning of something to me. The title and the melody sort of breathe something new just as the album is set to end. 

I think it quite interesting that a man of Justin's caliber in both skill and reach is just now releasing a project. Interesting that a guy who is sought out to play for some of everybody needed a life altering experience to push him into his own destiny. What's obvious is that everything happens in its set time. When the moment was right his experiences, skill, and passion all came together to birth one great album! We waited quite a while to get this project, and in that wait was the making of everything we now love about ALIGNED. It was definitely worth the wait!

ALIGNED is available now!


  1. This was long but a really good read. You have such a really casual approach to your posts that I like a lot. Im glad Justin pointed me this way! I will definitely be checking you out more! Tiff

    1. Lol, yes I can be a little wordy sometimes, especially with reviews. Thank you for the compliment, I'm glad you dig the site!

  2. I gotta get that give me what you got babe joint like now.