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Michael Gregory Jackson

“Michael Gregory Jackson has long been one of my favorite musicians. We came along around the same time and I have always considered him to be one of the most significantly original guitarists of our generation with his own distinctive sound and point of view. I am always curious to know what he is doing and where his inspiration has taken him next.” Pat Metheny 2015

African-American composer, innovator, guitarist, improviser, sound explorer, educator and poet. By age 20 Michael was an integral part of the fertile New Haven CT music scene, creating music with composers Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Davis, Gerry Hemingway and others. Upon his arrival in NYC he was widely considered one of the most innovative guitarists to emerge during New York’s avant-garde loft scene in the 70s. Michael stands as a pioneer of a new movement, one in which genres and sounds were suddenly mixed in new and inventive ways. Rolling Stone magazine called him "the most original jazz guitarist to emerge since the sixties." Michael embodies the nature of a true and natural artist, perpetually cultivating new ideas and directions.

Jackson’s brilliant technique on electric and acoustic, flavored with quicksilver runs, volume pedal swells and sudden shifts from crystalline melodic to fuzzy dissonance, has been name-checked as a critical influence on such 6-string greats as Bill Frisell, Vernon Reid, Brandon Ross, Elliot Sharpe and others.

Michael has worked and/or recorded with luminaries across the musical spectrum including Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Wadada Leo Smith, Nile Rodgers, Anthony Braxton, Will Calhoun, Nels Cline, Nona Hendryx, Jack Dejohnette, Steve Winwood, David Murray, Walter Becker, Buster Williams, Carlos Santana, Marcus Miller, Henry Threadgill, Omar Hakim, Vernon Reid, and Patti LaBelle, to name a few.

His recent credits as a producer include Pulitzer Prize nominee Wadada Leo Smith, for whom he produced two critically acclaimed discs. Michael taught at California Institute for the Arts, New England Conservatory of Music, Copenhagen Conservatory of Music, DK, Hampshire College, and is a guiding artist at The Creative Music Studio, Woodstock, N.Y.

His annual travels to Denmark to perform and collaborate have led to his most recent recordings, Michael Gregory Jackson’s Clarity Quartet, "After Before" and "Liberty" EME 2013, and his soon to be released Michael Gregory Jackson-Simon Spang-Hanssen Duo with Guests recording “Essence Breaks Free”.

Currently Michael is touring for his 2015 release of his European based Clarity Quartet, “After Before.” Michael Gregory Jackson’s Clarity Quartet (DK) members are Niels Praestholm bass, Simon Spang Hanssen saxophone and flute and Matias Wolf Andreasen, drums.

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Album Review
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* Gapplegate Guitar and Bass Blog 2015 A new Michael Gregory Jackson album always promises to be an event. "After Before" is no exception. His highly original guitar wielding is given an excellent setting with the current members of his Clarity Quartet: Niels Praestholm, bass, Simon Spang-Hanssen, tenor and soprano sax, and Matias Wolf Andreasen, drums.

There is cohesion and spirited togetherness in this band. They run through some extraordinarily worthwhile original compositions, including a couple of those inimitable songs Michael writes and sings, existing in a lyrical place all their own.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Frequency Equilibrium...

Golden Records
2021

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WHENUFINDITUWILLKNOW

Golden Records
2019

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Clarity

ESP Disk
2010

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Cowboys, Cartoons &...

Creative Sources
1982

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Gifts

Creative Sources
1979

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Heart & Center

Creative Sources
1979

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