Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Michael Gregory Jackson Clarity Quartet, whenufindituwillknow

What comes in time comes with sunshine sometimes. That is how I feel right now about Michael Gregory Jackson Clarity Quartet's new one whenufindituwillknow (Golden MGJCQ 004). That does not mean that things coming from Michael Gregory Jackson and his evolving working bands were less full of sunshine in the past. I have followed the music over the years happily and I could not say that there is any the lesser happening in the earlier. Yet, after hearing this new one a number of times it strikes me that it is no less original in its Jacksonian guitar originality and the compositional and conceptual "clarity," lyricism, exploratory outreach  and fired-up drive. It is maybe all the more so right now? It seems to me that this particular outing gives all the things I've been digging on all along but perhaps in a form that advanced Fusionologists who have missed his music will connect with immediately and directly and thereby become converts.

That is, if some still do not know out there. Anyone who likes a guitar plugged in and smartly saying it all needs to hear this music. The nine tracks all have special distinctive things happening, each one a little different than the others. You will find here a little extraordinary grooving that might remind you of "Jack Johnson," remind not for a derivative quality so much as an irresistible locking-in-ness. There are flowing free grooves and energy bursts too along with outright rockers, and then, surprise, a samba-lyric thing that only Michael might think up. And if the beauty of "In A Silent Way" makes you wish somebody would take that lyrical seed and transplant it into new soil, well Michael has come up with an original set of shooting buds that bring on the Jacksonian side of that possibility. Happily.

The band clearly clicks together and shows in each member a special belongingness.   Drummer Matias Wolf Andreason gets my attention from the start as someone who uses his snare artistically and wisely, then puts down a charge of motility that puts everything around the corner and into a place we cannot ignore. Niels Praestholm on bass and Simon Spang Hanssen on alto and soprano each have their say and add their sound to great advantage to the total result.

And then of course we have Michael's guitar work. It is outstanding and as sure and confidently assertive as I have ever heard it. I've said it before but he is a stylistic subset of one and perhaps this particular program gives you the ideal view of the warp and woof of it all.

The fact that I came and reopened this dusty blog space specifically to talk about whenufindituwillknow should tell you something--though I do plan to post here a great deal more going forward than I have lately. This album is a joy, a must for anyone in the electric guitar universe who is still listening to the new in the music.

This is the new. When you hear it you will know.