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From Strata East to Kanye West, from straight-ahead jazz to straight-out funk, Brian Jackson is a straight-up American legend. Listen to the more than a dozen albums he co-wrote and produced with longtime partner Gil Scott-Heron and you are bound to have many 'where have i heard that before? ' moments. That's because so many of his licks and riffs have been sampled - and continue to be sampled by - hip-hop aristocracy. Check his trademark Rhodes sound providing the groove foundations for cuts like Kanye's "Home Again" and Common's "The People", which features Brian's signature synth lines from "We Almost Lost Detroit," and you'll understand that his musical vision was decades ahead of its time. Maybe that's the reason that when you hear him play it's like something you've heard all your life.

After over 35 years of creativity, Brian can still be found building musical alliances with artists as diverse as Ron Carter and Dead Prez, Airto and Killah Priest, Charnett Moffett and Gregory Porter, and actively encourages contact with younger artists as well. His work with New York phenoms bassist Diallo House, drummer Ismail Lawal, saxophonist Stacey Dillard and Bay Area production partner Kentyah Fraser proves that this policy yields big dividends.

Brian reaches into both the future and the past to draw his inspiration, combining them to create a sound that is always new, yet true to the tradition of music that he insists on honoring. Ever aware how much a part of the music the listener is, Brian comments: "This music isn't really mine; it belongs to all of us. The minute I start trying to own it, it's all over. It's my job to pass on what I've learned. That's living the Tradition."



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© 2011 BRIAN JACKSON