Michael Gregory Jackson Clarity Quartet — Whenufindituwillknow
(Bandcamp no#, 2019, CD / DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2019-09-14
I first encountered guitarist Michael Gregory Jackson a couple years ago on Wadada Leo Smith’s Najwa album, though in that session he was working alongside three other guitarists, so I’d have to say his playing didn’t stand out — certainly I expect Smith wouldn’t hire someone who wasn’t up to snuff. With the awkwardly titled WHENUFINDITUWILLKNOW, I finally got a chance to see what Jackson is capable of when he’s in the driver’s seat. His career features quite a wide variety of work, from years with various jazz leaders on the free side to pop, R&B, and soul, and some of that breadth is displayed on this album. Jackson is a very distinctive guitarist who favors clean tones, though not without full body, and likes unusual chord voicings that include some dissonant intervals. He does occasionally add an edge of distortion to his tone, and his way of bending notes (I’m guessing both string bending and whammy bar are involved) is at times a little reminiscent of Mark Wingfield, though Jackson also has some of the frenetic energy of Raoul Björkenheim. This quartet includes Niels Præstholm on bass, Simon Spang-Hanssen on alto and soprano saxophones, and Matias Wolf Andreason on drums, all of whom are Danish. Spang-Hanssen has a discography going back to the 70s, notably including work with Nguyên Lê, but I’m otherwise unfamiliar with his playing. Given the evidence at hand, he’s a flexible and talented player, able to blend gritty blues licks with avant-tinged elements. Andreason is great on the drums, with standout moments on most every track, and incorporates ideas from outside jazz into his rhythms. Præstholm’s upright works nicely to keep the music grounded. Fans of jazz guitar who don’t have Michael Gregory Jackson on their radar would do well to check out this album — he’s a player with a voice of his own that seamlessly blends accessibility and experimentation.
Related artist(s): Michael Gregory Jackson
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more