From Strata East to Kanye West, from straight-ahead jazz to straight-out funk, Brian Jackson is a straight-up American legend. Listen to the more than a dozen albums he co-wrote and produced with longtime partner Gil Scott-Heron and you are bound to have many ‘where have i heard that before? ‘ moments. That’s because so many of his licks and riffs have been sampled – and continue to be sampled by – hip-hop aristocracy. Check his trademark Rhodes sound providing the groove foundations for cuts like Kanye’s “Home Again” and Common’s “The People”, both featuring Brian’s signature synth lines from “We Almost Lost Detroit,” and you’ll understand that his musical vision was decades ahead of its time. Maybe that’s why when you hear him play it’s like something you’ve heard all your life.
After over three decades of creativity, Brian can be found building musical alliances with artists as diverse as M1 (Dead Prez), vocalist Gregory Porter, Brazil’s Rodrigo Brandão and members of Hurtmold and Metá Metá, chanteuse Patrina Morris, young lion jazz violinist Scott Tixier (Kenny Barron, Stevie Wonder) legendary bassist Charnett Moffett and many others. He welcomes every possible opportunity to work with younger artists and his work with New York phenoms drummer Ismail Lawal, trumpeter Josh Evans and saxophonists Stacey Dillard and Martin Kelly and bassist Diallo House proves that this policy yields big dividends.
Brian reaches into both the future and the past to draw his inspiration, combining them to create a sound that is always new, yet true to the tradition of music that he honors. Aware of how much a part of the music the listener is, Brian cautions: “This music isn’t really mine; it belongs to all of us. The minute I start trying to own it, it’s all over. It’s my job to pass on what I’ve learned. That’s living the Tradition.”