Michael Gregory Jackson

Latest Release

Frequency Equilibrium Koan released 2.5.2021

Jackson's newest release, Frequency Equilibrium Koan, will come out on Golden Records in February 2021. Frequency Equilibrium Koan is a 1977 recording of an extraordinary concert of Michael's music atJoe Lee Wilson's New York City venue, The Ladies' Fort, performed by an extraordinary quartet: Michael Gregory Jackson (guitars & percussion), Julius Hemphill (alto saxophone), Abdul Wadud (cello), Pheeroan aKLaff (drums). Featuring 40 minutes of music and liner notes by Michael and guitarist Bill Frisell, Frequency Equilibrium Koan offers listeners a priceless opportunity to experience a key moment in NYC's long lost Loft Jazz Scene of the 1970s, with Michael at that scene's heart.

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"This incredible, marvelous and comprehensive compilation of brilliant compositions by my friend, the late great composer Julius Hemphill is now available. This box set was perfectly curated and heartfully assembled by another dear friend, the inimitable and exacting Marty Ehrlich. I highly recommend that you take this insightful and harmonic journey through the many phases, textures and vibrant colors of Julius Hemphills' masterful music... simply put, it's Amazing!" - MGJ

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"Guitarist Michael Gregory Jackson is a maverick..the axeman...earning a place beside James Blood Ulmer and Sonny Sharrock as an innovator, and influencing future envelope pushers like Bill Frisell, Brandon Ross and Vernon Reid. Recorded live in 1977, Frequency Equilibrium Koan features Jackson throwing down with a free jazz dream team: saxophone legend Julius Hemphill, drummer Pheeroan akLaff and radical cellist Abdul Wadud, late of the unfairly obscure Black Unity Trio. “Clarity” and the title track don’t mess around... Not for the faint of heart, but mother’s milk to fans of uncaged spontaneous composition. ...As rocking as it is dazzling, “Heart & Center” acts as a gateway to Jackson’s viewpoint, prepping the unsure for the more demanding delights within."

– Michael Toland, The Big Takeover (USA), Feb. 5, 2021

"Frequency Equilibrium Koan is a live recording captured...at the very beginnings of Jackson's career, a few months after the release of his first record as a leader in 1977. The guitarist is surrounded by a team of the most amazing: the cellist Abdul Wadud, the drummer Pheeroan aKlaff (who had previously distinguished himself with Wadada Leo Smith) and the immense saxophonist Julius Hemphill who had already published the essential Dogon AD and founded the Saxophone World Quartet. The program...consists of four pieces... Heart & Center follows a bizarre but irresistible dance...exchanges between Jackson and Hemphill are delightful... This recording - although its sound quality is not optimal - allows us to appreciate the talent of a visionary artist who...has exerted an undeniable influence on his peers. "

– Steve Naud, panm 360 (Canada), Feb. 2021

"Michael Gregory Jackson is among a generation of guitarists who forged their own path on the instrument in the wake of Jimi Hendrix. No less an authority than Pat Metheny said, “I have always considered him to be one of the most significantly original guitarists of our generation” while Bill Frisell opined, “I believe he’s one of the unsung innovators.” “All these people I was playing with in the ‘70s had their own thing and it was very strong,” Jackson said...But we all did our own thing together. And that was what was so magical about that period.”

– Bill Milkowski, "Tales from the Sixth String: New Music from Michael Gregory Jackson & More," Jazziz (USA), February 2021

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 aka Michael Gregory 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 40-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.”

MGJ performed and/or Recorded With: Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Will Calhoun (Living Colour), David Murray, Baikida Carroll, Matt Shipp, Grammy. Award Winner Nile Rodgers (Chic, Daft Punk), Pulitzer Prize Winner Anthony Davis, Philip Wilson, Carlos Santana, Bernard Edwards (Chic), Vernon Reid (Living Colour), Billy Hart (Wes Montgomery, Wayne Shorter), Nona Hendryx, Kenwood Dennard (Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock), Olu Dara, Buster Williams (Herbie Hancock), Steve Winwood (Traffic), Keith Witty (Anthony Braxton, Amel Larrieux, Somi), Nels Cline (Wilco), Walter Becker (Steely Dan), Anthony Braxton, Rakalam Bob Moses, Patti LaBelle, Jack Dejohnette, Anton Fig (Letterman Show), Melle Mel, Omar Hakim (Weather Report, Sting), Jerome Harris, Eddie Henderson, Amina Claudine Myers, David Sancious (Bruce Springsteen, Peter Gabriel), Obie Award Winner Ntozake Shange, Pulitzer Prize Winner Henry Threadgill, Rodney Holmes, Jimmy Bralower, Nona Hendryx, Kevin Jones, American Book Award WinnerJessica Hagedorn, Ed Blackwell (Ornette Coleman), Steve Thorton (Miles Davis), Anthony Jackson, Gary Bartz (Miles Davis), Tony Thompson (Chic, Robert Palmer, Led Zeppelin), Sammy Figueroa (Miles Davis), Kermit Driscoll (Bill Frisell), Ole Romer, Bernard Davis (Sam and Dave, Mariah Carey), Marty Ehrlich, Karl Berger, Ingrid Berger, Wadada Leo Smith, Victor Lewis, Grammy Award and American Book Award Winner Thulani Davis, Jeff Bova, and many others.


folks, lively, living divergent lives,
meandering streams, outflows birthed,
currents of sacred grace,
pouring, every which way, from love

miscellaneous parts, hands, eyes, feet & hearts,
we see, learn life, movements, steps & starts,
answers, question marks & smarts, map your charts

rise up, be there, in your space, beyond the clouds,
speak up, be strong, be proud, know, for sure,
you belong, get focused, get up, yes, take a bow,
​you’re flying now

aware, in here, effervescent bursts,
​hope exceeds control, regardless of shadows,
​specifically, continuously, create,
see, what we are, how we feel, who we be

Michael Gregory Jackson