Mervin Toussaint | Lakay Review
by Darnell Jackson
Mervin Toussaint is a Philadelphia-based jazz saxophonist and educator combining today’s music’s hippest sounds with jazz’s sophistication and rhythmic complexities. Toussaint has released his debut album called Lakay. The album’s name means ‘home’ in Haitian Kreyol and is inspired by Toussaint’s upbringing in the Haitian Christian Church and the history of jazz music.
The title track, “Lakay,” launches our journey into Toussaint’s musical world. A catchy melody with elements of blues meets Haitian jazz is supported by a buoyant groove pulse. Toussaint’s saxophone sound is warm and clear, as his solo builds with energy, we hear grace coming out of his saxophone. Building with motifs and contagious rhythmic drive. The composition is imaginative and an excellent introduction to Toussaint’s fantastic jazz world.
“Fore” is a developing composition with another memorable melody and outstanding feel. Being raised in the church, Toussaint knows it must feel good no matter what. The piece has an inspiring saxophone solo stacked with motifs and fluid flurries of notes. The bandleader makes it evident that jazz and Haitian music go hand in hand. His approach to the saxophone is refreshingly grounded in its conveying the crossover territory between the two styles.
Lakay is eight songs that introduce the beautiful musical sound of Mervin Toussaint. A jazz musician with a broad understanding of melody and rhythm. He uses that knowledge to meld a sound of today’s jazz language with a Haitian flair for rhythm and motifs to get a sound that is fresh.
Release Date: October 14, 2022