“MGJ was already doing almost everything I was striving to do. How inspiring and simultaneously daunting!”
“Frequency Equilibrium Koan is a communion of loft jazz musicians who weren’t just among the best of their time, but of ALL time. As Frisell marveled, “I can’t believe this happened more than 40 years ago. It sounds like the future.”
MGJ 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.”
“‘Frequency Equilibrium Koan’ is nothing less than 40 minutes of prime interaction between four distinct improviser-leaders circa 1977...and it seems like a small miracle that this documentation has come to light."
"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."
"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. "
"This digital archival release..will hopefully eventually get an LP release...but fans of 1970s loft jazz shouldn’t wait for that to happen, because the music is undeniably major. ... While Frequency Equilibrium Koan’s emergence is worthy of celebration foremost as a journey into collective excellence, it also illuminates how the activities in the lofts could get as wild and free as the Fire Music and avant-jazz that preceded it. Jackson’s flute in the final track “A Meditation” highlights a tendency toward world-jazz fusion, but his guitar in “Heart & Center” is the kind of thing to rouse fans of Mary Halvorson, which is to say that Bill Frisell’s observation that this music “sounds like the future” is an astute one. A"
"Whenever the American guitarist Michael Gregory Jackson is mentioned, the adjective "underestimated" is never far away. Despite...a number of perfectly brilliant records, he is hardly a household name. And the stage he sprang from - the so-called loft jazz scene that flourished in New York in the second half of the seventies - does not get the attention it deserves either. But maybe all this can change? ...I keep my fingers crossed for that. The album Frequency Equilibrium Koan, the latest release on Golden Records, deserves to be heard by many. ...That Jackson was only 24 at the time is impossible to hear - his innovative use of effects, volume and tone feels like the results of several decades of exploration. Do not miss."
“Michael Gregory Jackson has long been one of my favorite musicians... I have always considered him to be one of the most significantly original guitarists of our generation with his own distinctive sound and point of view. I am always curious to know ... where his inspiration has taken him next.”
“What ultimately holds it all together is Jackson’s undeniable prowess. His deep melodic sensibility and razor-sharp precision are constants... the record: a celebration of Jackson's continuing vitality, and a hopeful sign of much more to come."