Born in Brooklyn in the fifties, Brian Jackson is regarded as a pivotal figure in the development of modern jazz, funk and soul. A long time collaborator with the infamous, late, great Gil Scott-Heron and a musician with an intriguing past he remains a definitive figure amidst a genre to which we owe so much.
From a young age he demonstrated a deep rooted passion and sense of understanding for music - it became his first love. Little would he know that he would one day go on to collaborate and work on music with the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Will Downing, Gwen Guthrie, Kool and the Gang and Roy Ayers.
Brian met Gil Scott-Heron at university in Pennsylvania, the pair began a collaborative process which would become iconic and revered releasing cult classic jazz, poetry and soul across a spectrum of releases. Brian worked on prolific records such as "Pieces Of A Man", "Winter In America", "Free Will" and many more before a split in 1980.
There are very few who can attest to such a diverse, eclectic and profound musical legacy. His influence runs deep.
This weekend Brian Jackson will appear as part of the line up at Mostly Jazz Funk & Soul festival in Birmingham, a rare appearance for a renowned icon. We invited him to take us through a number of records which have touched and influenced his own progression as a person and artist.
More details of the festival HERE.
Ahmad Jamal - Poinciana (Song Of The Trees)
A hit song at the time of release, it had a beat that features a hi-hat pattern that is commonplace today but not at all for the time. Drummer Vernel Fournier was clearly decades ahead of the times and yet reached back centuries across the Atlantic to West Africa's heartbeat. Bassist Israel Crosby filled in the context with a pattern that lets you understand that you've just crossed into Afro-Cuban territory From a young age I was able to hear how what you don't play is often more effective that what you don't. If it's the groove that moves you forward, then the groove should sometimes have space to do just that. Soloing all over it in certain instances can be counterproductive to that groove. It's a hard lesson for many young musicians to learn but Ahmad Jamal, at an early age, was able to master that concept.