Born: August 28, 1953 Primary Instrument: Guitar
￼Bio by Sal Cataldi One of the most influential guitarists to emerge during New York’s avant-garde loft jazz scene has returned to influence a new generation of edge-pushing, genre-hopping musicians. He’s also returned, after a few decades’ detour courtesy of “The King of Pop,” to his original name and performance moniker – Michael Gregory Jackson.
Michael has tread a winding musical path over his 30-plus year career, embracing everything from creative music, jazz, blues, rock and electronica soundscapes to harmonically rich and lyrically-deep vocal tunes, with the complex arrangements and subtleties that are a signature of his music. His ability to span musical genres was best captured by one reviewer’s depiction, “Musical Mercury.”...
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. —Down Beat
“By the time he was twenty-one he was already one of the most original jazz guitarist to emerge since the Sixties.” —Rolling Stone Michael Gregory Jacksons’ “Heart and Center, with it’s completely original synthesis of influences ranging from Stravinsky to Duke Ellington to Hendrix to Earth, Wind, and Fire is unlike anything that’s been heard before.” - Robert Palmer - Rolling Stone
“Gregory has that rare combination of virtuosity and versatility, able to play the guitar whiz...then slip easily into hugely commercial cuts. Michael Gregory is, quite simply, the business.” –Q
Take Bowie's sophistication, add Prince's flamboyance, and mix with plenty of originality. Michael Gregory writes crisp, vibrant songs, and sings them like it's a matter of life and death. —Trouser Press
“The songs...realize Michael Gregory's own theoretical musings about the fertile musical possibilities created when applying blues and jazz sensibilities to rock.” – Spin
“A highly distinctive and beautiful CD of originals...his own unique style that synthesizes jazz, pop and soul...filled with romantic longing and smoldering passion....” —Music Revue
Michael Gregory's high tenor voice calls to mind Smokey Robinson, Sting or Ben Harper as it flows with his guitar riffs...He doesn't back away from the difficult and sometimes raw themes connected with love and loss. Lays bare the sinews of human emotion. Gregory's honesty and hypnotic sound mixes are unabashedly mellow. —The Advocate
“Gregory's voice recalls vintage Prince, Curtis Mayfield and Aaron Neville...There's little doubt that Gregory remains a stringman supreme.” — Sunday Republican “At a certain point Gregory comes spinning out of an emotional wringer, and takes a beautifully berserk guitar solo. The dynamics are unbeatably exhilarating.” –Record
Towards the Sun picks up with graceful aplomb as if there were no gap in time at all. While fans of soulful ’70s and ’80s artists (Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, etc.) will find easy entrance into Gregory’s music, it’s also filled with subtle surprises that acknowledge his background in the gleefully iconoclastic fringes. All is not as it appears, with layering and compositional flourishes embedded in the songs, revealing themselves in slyly gentle ways. From the graceful modulations of “If I Only Had a Minute” to the thick guitar dazzle of “Love’s Parade,” this is an album filled with rich singing, inventive playing, and alluring, mesmerizing and cliché-free hooks. —Metroland.Net