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Guitarist, singer and composer Michael Gregory Jackson’s (nee Michael Gregory) unique style and sonic innovations have changed the face of jazz guitar and influenced acclaimed guitarists and musicians across genres. Rolling Stone magazine raved, "By the time (Jackson) was twenty-one he was already one of the most original jazz guitarists to emerge since the sixties."
Michael has tread a winding musical path over his 30-plus year career, embracing everything from creative music, jazz, blues, rock and electronica soundscapes to harmonically rich and lyrically-deep vocal tunes, with the complex arrangements and subtleties that are a signature of his music. His ability to span musical genres was best captured by one reviewer’s moniker, “Musical Mercury.”
Early in his career, Michael Gregory Jackson, the guitarist barely out of his teens was second in command of the mighty Oliver Lake Trio, one of the most critically acclaimed and far-traveling ensembles working jazz’s outer fringes. Michael pioneered the use of atmospheric volume pedal swells and distorted quicksilver leads that darted in and around Lake’s full-throated alto like a post-modern Bird and Dizzy, along with uniquely harmonic, folk fingered accompaniments on the acoustic guitar, as evidenced on the Oliver Lake release “Life Dance Of Is” (Arista Novus) Michael Gregory Jackson’s “Clarity, Circle, Triangle and Square” (ESP), Jackson’s “Karmonic Suite” (IAI) and the Oliver Lake Trio live set “Zaki” (Hat-Hut).
All of Michael’s recordings have garnered international critical acclaim. Robert Palmer wrote in Rolling Stone that Jackson’s “Heart and Center, with it’s completely original synthesis of influences ranging from Stravinsky to Duke Ellington, to Hendrix to Earth, Wind, and Fire is unlike anything that’s been heard before.”
Down Beat magazine called Michael "One of the most lyrical musicians working today...singularly personal and arresting and one of contemporary music's few genuine poets... Jackson’s daring, darting vocal is so serene yet intense that one is hard-put naming a contemporary vocalist of similar grace and power."
Michael Gregory Jackson’s latest release is “LIBERTY Art Ensemble Syd with Michael Gregory Jackson” (Embla/Gateway). “LIBERTY” includes seven of Jackson’s original compositions and it was recorded in Denmark. Notably “LIBERTY” is the first recording released under his full name Michael Gregory Jackson since 1983. Between 1983 and 2012 Michael’s music was released under Michael Gregory.
Michael’s ensembles have included musical luminaries Wadada Leo Smith, Marty Ehrlich, Pheeroan aKLaff, Oliver Lake, Baikida Carroll, Will Calhoun, Anthony Davis, Julius Hemphill, David Murray, Mark Helias, Jerome Harris and Mark Trayle to name a few.
P E R F O R M E D A N D / O R R E C O R D E D W I T H ( S E L E C T E D):
Julius Hemphill, Mick Jagger, Wadada Leo Smith, Nels Cline, Oliver Lake, Nile Rodgers, Henry Threadgill, Baikida Carroll, Will Calhoun, David Murray, Steve Winwood, Walter Becker, Kenwood Dennard, Vernon Reid, Anthony Davis, Jack Dejohnette, Archie Shepp, Obie Award Winner Ntozake Shange, Amina Claudine Myers, David Sancious, Marcus Miller, Chaka Khan, Olu Dara, Jimmy Giuffre, John Tchichai, Niels Praestholm, Karl Berger, Jimmy Guiffe, Will Calhoun, Jerry Marotta, Jay Hoggard, Stephen Stewart, Lee Konitz, Ed Blackwell, Rodney Holmes, Nona Hendryx, Pulitzer Prize Winner Paul Muldoon, Omar Hakim, Dwight Andrews, Jessica Hagedorn, Ed Blackwell, Anthony Jackson, Marty Ehrlich, Karl Berger, Victor Lewis, Carlos Santana, Anthony Braxton and many more.