"Checking In" is the first CD release by saxophonist Elijah Jamal Balbed. Quickly gaining a reputation as being an “Old Soul”, this first CD release highly supports this mantle of early prowess. Paralleling his reputation as an exceptional saxophonist he is likewise fostering respect as an accomplished composer as well.
I must admit, when first asked to write these notes I was already very familiar with Elijah. I became acquainted with him when he matriculated to college after high school. Studying briefly with me in college, Elijah already showed an unyielding thirst for excellence as a jazz saxophonist. This dedication commanded Elijah to follow the path of other great artists; practice, play, practice, play, practice, play; well, you know the rest. For years Elijah could be spotted all over Washington DC performing most nights of the week. Elijah Balbed’s passion, love and commitment to jazz are now yielding some wonderful results; as you will witness on this CD recording.
All musicians included here, in their own right, are stellar performers. Bringing them all together for this recording project has produced a product worthy of great attention. The arrangements with all of their “hits and figures” wonderfully serve to give this CD that classic “on the road” band sound.
Elijah Balbed is a young artist steadily rising to the foreground of modern jazz consciousness. I look forward to witnessing the many successes and accolades that are sure to follow this young man for many years to come. Well done!
Charlie Young is a musician with considerable performance experience in the jazz field. An alumnus of the Count Basie Orchestra, Mr. Young has been an integral member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra for over two decades, where he has served as lead saxophonist and orchestra conductor. He has also served as lead saxophonist and conductor for other ensembles including the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra. Mr. Young holds the position as Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Howard University in Washington, D.C.