Brian Jackson returns with first solo album in 20 years

Keyboardist, flautist and songwriter Brian Jackson has returned with his first solo album in 20 years, titled This is Brian Jackson.

Jackson has carved out a unique space for himself among music fans with his pivotal decade of collaborations with musician and activist Gil Scott-Heron, providing his iconic electric piano and flute performances on their 1970s albums including Pieces of a Man, Bridges and Winter in America. From the ‘80s and onwards, Jackson worked with Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Kool & The Gang, Roy Ayers and Gwen Guthrie, to name a few.

During the recording period of Bridges in 1976, Jackson had originally planned to craft a solo project; he made some demos, but never completed them. In the beginnings of his friendship with the Phenomenal Handclap Band’s Daniel Collás, Jackson mentioned this unfinished album. This prompted Collas to ask, “What would a Brian Jackson album sound like if the 21st-century Brian were to complete that 1976 album today?” He offered to produce the record.

This is Brian Jackson was recorded over a series of twice-weekly sessions in Collás’s studio in Williamsburg over a span of 11 months.

“We sketched out musical ideas, drank way too much coffee, consumed way too many tacos and sampled perhaps a few too many exotic whiskeys while talking about things that were important to both of us personally,” says Jackson. “The lyrics for the songs are a result of those conversations.”

Jackson enlisted the talents of guitarist and bassist Binky Brice, songwriter Morgan Phalen, flautist Domenica Fossati, drummers Moussa Fadera and Caito Sanchez, and vocalists Juliet Swango and Monika Heidemann.

Arriving two decades after Jackson’s first solo album Gotta Play, the new recording offers a prominent callback to the iconic sounds he pioneered throughout his career, embellished with contemporary production techniques. Incorporating influences of golden-era soul-funk, Afrobeat and jazz, This Is Brian Jackson represents a solid restatement of identity for the veteran artist.

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Here’s the track listing for This is Brian Jackson:

  1. All Talk
  2. Force of Will
  3. C’est Cette Comète
  4. Nomad
  5. Mami Wata
  6. Path to Macondo / Those Kind of Blues
  7. Hold On
  8. Little Orphan Boy

This is Brian Jackson is out now via BBE Music.