Dafna Naphtali, Michael Gregory, Jen Baker and Ras Moshe at Spectrum in NYC on January 3
Spectrum January 3, 2013 at 7:00pm 121 Ludlow St. New York, NY, 10002
Michael Gregory Jackson, Clarity, Circle, Triangle and Square” The opening “Clarity” begins with terse acoustic guitar arpeggios, keening flute and tenor, and then moves through an evenly-spaced upward tone row, following along a path outlined by Smith’s concept of rhythm units. The shock — at least to those solely weaned on improvised music — comes when Gregory spins out a delicate, soulful tune with a vocal delivery reminiscent of a young Stevie Wonder. It’s a short sung poem that meanders along a burbling sonic brook, but its effect is extraordinary, immediate and unlike anything else before or since in improvised music.
—Clifford Allen, All About Jazz
One of the most lyrical musicians working today … singularly personal and arresting and one of contemporary music’s few genuine poets ... Gregory's daring, darting vocal is so serene yet intense that one is hard-put naming a contemporary vocalist of similar grace and power.
Born Michael Gregory Jackson in New Haven, CT, 1953, Michael began to play guitar at the age of seven. In his teens, he often performed his own material during solo gigs and band appearances. Among Michael's early influences were Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Son House, Joni Mitchell and Igor Stravinsky. Now he plays under both Michael Gregory and Michael Gregory Jackson.
Michael was playing Creative music with Wadada Leo Smith and such other notables as pianist Anthony Davis, saxophonists Henry Threadgill, Julius Hemphill, David Murray and Oliver Lake. He recorded several critically acclaimed and highly unique albums from 1976 through 1979 for Bija, Black Saint, Improvising Artists and Arista Novus Records.
In 1982, Michael dropped “Jackson” and became Michael Gregory, to avoid any name confusion with Michael Jackson. Gregory worked with producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic and collaborated with Steely Dan's Walter Becker.
Michael is writing poetry, composing music for various ensembles, recording, performing and teaching in Europe and America and producing various projects.