Musical Artist, Producer, Vocalist, Recording Studio
Tell us a little about your background...
Michael Gregory (born Michael Gregory Jackson) is an ambitious, guitarist/ singer/songwriter who began his career as a folk, rock and blues guitarist. He has also played with many luminaries of the Avant Garde Jazz scene in the 70's 80's 90's and beyond. As the years progressed, he would play Creative Music, Jazz, Rock, Pop, Soul and New Wave music.
Over the years, he's performed and/or recorded with Mick Jagger, Carlos Santana, Nile Rodgers, Oliver Lake, David Murray, Bernard Edwards, Wadada Leo Smith, Steve Winwood, Walter Becker, Anthony Davis, Anton Fig, Melle Mel, Omar Hakim, David Sancious, Marcus Miller, Jerry Marotta, Nona Hendryx, Ed Blackwell, Tony Thompson, Karl Berger, Oliver Lake, Henry Threadgill, Vernon Reid, Anthony Braxton and many others.
Born in New Haven, CT, 1953, Michael began to play guitar at the age of seven. In his teens, he often performed his own material during solo gigs and band appearances. Among Michael's early influences were Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Son House, Joni Mitchell and Igor Stravinsky. His father exposed him to Wes Montgomery, Mahalia Jackson, Les Paul, Mary Ford, and early George Benson and Michael's musical destiny began to take shape. Gregory was playing local coffee shops, clubs and nightspots, primarily in a singer-songwriter/guitar virtuoso vein, he was listening to everything he could get his ears on: "I was into rock music, but I was also into all kinds of music, especially electric Miles at that time, John Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, Webern and Stravinsky; when radio wasn't so demographically programmed.
Progressive creative improvised music composer and trumpeter, Wadada Leo Smith, influenced Gregory to look beyond the boundaries of rock, folk and mainstream jazz, and soon Michael was playing avant-garde music with Smith and such other notables as pianist Anthony Davis, saxophonists David Murray and Oliver Lake. He recorded several highly unique albums from 1976 through 1979 for Bija, Black Saint, Improvising Artists and Arista- Novus. By 1979, though, Gregory had felt that the singer-songwriter aspect of his art was being neglected, and through both free improvisation and experimenting with the possibilities of electric guitar sounds and rhythmic structure, he had redeveloped an interest in playing rock and other music(s).
"I shrunk the sextet down to a three piece band so it was just me, Pheeroan AkLaff on drums, and, and Jerome Harris on bass... then I started the three-piece rock band Signal. Nile Rodgers would seek out and sign Michael after seeing and hearing Signal at The Brecker Brothers New York club Seventh Avenue South.
We played most every night and rehearsed every day for about two years and hit all the clubs and festivals nonstop between Boston and New York, DC and other cities. At that time there was a big circuit for rock music, plus we were a band that people could dance to, even though I played a lot of extended guitar solos".
"I enjoy playing music that compels people to get up and dance. I also enjoy playing more cerebral and subtle music, truth is, I choose not to compartmentalize or limit myself".
In 1982, Michael changed his name to Michael Gregory, to avoid any name confusion with Michael Jackson.
Gregory worked with producers Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic (and collaborated with Steely Dan's Walter Becker) He recorded one album for Island Records (1983's Situation X).
In recent years, he has returned not only to playing regularly (including two solo releases, 'Red', and 'Towards The Sun') but also to the world of Creative Music and free improvisation, and has renewed his relationship with Oliver Lake. Michael has also re-united with Wadada Leo Smith, he produced and played on "Hearts Reflections" May 2011 and (disc two) Smith's 2009 release "Spiritual Dimensions" on Cuneiform records.
Michael is composing, performing and teaching in Europe and America and producing various projects.
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What Instrument do you play?
Vocalist, Percussion, Guitar
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Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."