149

Michael Gregory Jackson: Clarity

Raul d'Gama Rose By

Sign in to view read count
Michael Gregory Jackson: Clarity Michael Gregory is the quintessential modern troubadour. He may not sing in a Romance language, but he turns his instruments of choice—guitar and voice—into a powerful language that enables him to recreate the sensuous, reverential and spiritual literature that, in turn, enormously enhances his songbook. Gregory turns on the charm on Clarity, a short, but memorable album that provides a telling snapshot of the musician's art. He is joined here by the power trio of alto saxophonist Oliver Lake, tenor saxophonist David Murray and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith—who, at times, eclipse Gregory's enormous presence. This is gracious on the part of the guitarist, who often moves the music to his whims and fancies.

Clarity possesses some of the most exquisite music that Gregory has ever written and performed. The extended version of "Prelueoionti" sees the guitarist leaping off into the unknown with great, galloping lines that move breathtakingly forward, gaining mass and momentum as the song progresses. Shaped like a mini concerto, "Prelueoionti" is a masterpiece of changing tones and colors that Gregory delivers magnificently on his sonorous acoustic guitar. The extended version of the title track, "Clarity (4)," is a moving exploration into the world of the guitar, but this time Gregory is also joined by the saxophonists and Smith. The result is a moving, probing exposition of a song that suggests vast possibilities—many more than it actually brings forth—as much of the improvisation takes off with lines that vanish into infinity before they are brought to fruition.

Gregory's vocals are uniquely soft. His burnished voice glazes the lines as he annunciates with sharp clarity, only to soften the lines as they fade away at the end of each bar. This style of vocalizing makes his voice singular, and enhances his image like that of a black troubadour, wending his way through life as he picks up the shards of broken glass that appear in his path. Thus his ability to soften the music as he bends notes and twists phrases is often at beautiful odds with the harsh nature of his musical journey. There may be many more albums that showcase Gregory's music with greater finesse, but the elemental beauty of these songs that he shares with Lake, Murray and Smith, is timeless.


Track Listing: Clarity; A View of This Life; Oliver Lake; Prelueoionti; Ballad; Clarity (4); Ab Bb 1-7-3°; IOMI.

Personnel: David Murray: tenor saxophone; Oliver Lake: flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, talking drum, cowbell; Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, soprano trumpet, flugelhorn, Indian flute; Michael Gregory Jackson: acoustic guitar, vocal, electric guitar, electric mandolin, bamboo flute, timpani, marimba, percussion.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: ESP Disk


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Jerome Wilson
Published: September 20, 2016
Read "Man Made Object" CD/LP/Track Review Man Made Object
by Geno Thackara
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Dharma
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "The Third Decade" CD/LP/Track Review The Third Decade
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 16, 2016
Read "Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Legacy: A Coltrane Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 11, 2016
Read "Desire & Freedom" CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!