Brian Jackson

This Is Brian Jackson

In 1967, Roland Barthe proclaimed, “Every new Fashion is a refusal to inherit, a subversion against the oppression of the preceding Fashion.” That statement, originally referring to sartorial choices (mohair and satin), can just as easily be applied to musical trends. In the case of This Is Brian Jackson, we have been gifted a subversion against the oppression of the current fashion. With tracks like the effervescently hopeful “Hold On” and the positively groovy “All Talk,” Jackson describes a predilection for utopian optimism and self-improvement rooted in a populist spiritualism that fell out of fashion in popular music around the same time that platform shoes became passe.

The sound that Brian Jackson pioneered laying the melodic underpinning in Gil Scott Heron’s classic era has since become shorthand for a certain 1970s hip soul-jazz aesthetic, one that countless artists have referenced.

This Is Brain Jackson, the artist’s first solo project in two decades, is a clear-eyed continuation of the artist’s iconic work. “Little Orphan Boy” percolates with kinetic energy, and would have as easily found its home on the more discriminating dance floors of the late 1970s as at will today, while “C’est Cette Comète” simply glows with Jackson’s inspiring keys. A contemporary record produced by Daniel Collás of the Phenomenal Handclap Band, Brian Jackson is interwoven with orphan demo material (including work utilizing the fabled T.O.N.T.O. synthesizer) from an abandoned 1970s solo effort.

This album never loses the plot, because unlike any number of contemporary records laced with Fender Rhodes or Arp synth to evoke a certain feel, this is an album artful creator thankfully working in his singular, natural style.

By the way, platforms are back at the moment, too.

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