LAY IT BACK - THE NEW CD FROM PAUL JACKSON, JR.
Paul Jackson Jr.'s new CD is entitled “Lay It Back”, his 7th solo CD. After having three smash-hit CD(s) on the Blue Note Label, Paul has signed with Branch Records a new independent label. Paul’s previous release included three top five singles, one of which achieved number one status on the Smooth Jazz Charts. His selection of “Never Too Much” on the Luther VanDross Tribute CD, also achieved top five status on the Smooth Jazz Charts.
Previous releases include: Grammy nominated, I Came To Play, Out of The Shadows, and River in The Desert under the Atlantic Label. Never Alone Duets under the Pony Canyon/ Blue Note Labels, Power Of The String and Still Small Voice under the Blue Note Label. His latest project, Lay It Back is an R&B inspired smooth jazz assortment of originals and carefully selected covers.
Production of this long awaited release required the sharing of Paul’s talents and schedule with television’s “American Idol”, “Don’t Forget the Lyrics” and “America’s got Talent” , the “Grammys” and the “Icon Awards” honoring Barry Gordy. With Paul as music director, the awards featured performances by Lionel Ritchie, Herbie Hancock, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder.
Paul has been with Idol since its inception – three years providing pre-records followed by the last four years on camera. “I really enjoy working on Idol, especially the opportunity to help enhance the performance of contestants with my playing, choices of guitars, switching of guitars between songs based upon song selections and, working with them during rehearsals so that they can best utilize the music provided by the band, lead by Rickey Minor”. His frequently being asked by contestants to provide up-front on-camera accompaniment really helps them deliver their best performances. Paul uses the same approach and commitment to each project with contestants as he has done in his studio work, which earned him the reputation of being one of the worlds most recorded and requested guitarist, with this CD and his other personal projects
Continuing to be the guitarist of demand, Paul refused to just “Lay It Back”, and blame it on his busy schedule, but instead took the time to write and record incredible originals and lay down his smooth “guitarizma” on cover tracks such as Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry Bout a Thing” and The Commodore’s “Easy” to compile this incredible new CD.
Paul’s previous releases each featured who’s-who lists of notables. Since he has contributed to the projects of the true giants of music and maintains unique camaraderie with all, Paul’s requests to have them provide their individual strengths to his projects are eagerly accepted. This CD continues the trend with contributions of Jeff Lorber, Bobby Lyle and others, and members of the Ricky Minor All-star band, heard each week on the American Idol, other television shows and specials, with Ricky himself providing his incredible bass licks. The CD production also provided an opportunity for Paul to bring in members of his own live performance band on several tracks. Each of his band members has established his/her credentials by performing with the industry’s best in their live performances.
This CD, promises to make Branch Records proud by blasting it out of the starting blocks with this one, its first release.
ABOUT PAUL JACKSON, JR.
Foregoing a blossoming movie acting career of on-set appearances with many major actors for blockbuster movies, commercials and as a regular on two television series, and with the blessing of his parents, who have always supported him and his siblings in their career aspirations. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Paul Jackson, Jr. got his first guitar at age nine, started playing seriously at 12 and decided to be a professional musician. At 15, he began to converse with his neighbor, the extraordinary pianist and vocalist Patrice Rushen who became a mentor and introduced the young guitarist to many musicians who would later hire him/
Paul was a member of numerous local bands in his early-teens, including a band composed of himself and his siblings. He very quickly established a reputation for his skill and sensitivity and was soon called upon to do many R&B and pop sessions, as well as a handful of jazz dates. Demands for session and sideman performances rapidly increased, eventually resulting in his earning several awards and the reputation of being the most recorded and requested guitarist in the world. Paul has received “Gold” and “Platinum” albums reflecting sales in excess of 85 million albums containing his “guitarisma.”
After graduating from Gardena High School near Los Angeles, Jackson attended the University of Southern California where he majored in music. After leaving USC, Paul joined. Patrice Rushen,. According to Jackson, “Patrice took me around and introduced me to many musicians including guitarists Lee Ritenour and Al McKay. I can't say enough about what Patrice has meant to me as a true friend and mentor.” Jackson also met the incredible guitarist Ray Parker, Jr., and the two became close friends. Parker inspired Paul to not only work as a studio guitarist, but to explore the opportunities to compose, produce and do solo projects. Jackson took Parker's advice and seriously started to write and produce for artists including Jermaine Jackson, Bobby Brown and George Howard, just to name a few. Expanding upon Parker's advice, Paul also began to become involved in film and television music projects. His unique guitar licks can be heard on several movie and television soundtracks including Tootsie, Rain Man, Heat of the Night, and Soul Train. Paul was the Music Director for The American Cinema Awards Show, which honored Bob Hope. He was also music director for the sitcoms Martin and Townsend Television and for Patti Austin as well as co-composer of the music for the movie, Undercover Brother
Why is Paul Jackson, Jr. so busy? Michael Jackson knows. Quincy Jones, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, George Duke, and George Benson know as well. They all know that when they want the best on their music projects, Paul gets the call. Composer, arranger, producer and guitarist Paul Jackson Jr.'s climb to the top of the music field wasn't easy. Living in Los Angeles where music, film, television and commercial projects require top musicians, it is easy to get lost in the vast sea of talent. but not Paul.. His strong Christian beliefs, astounding musical talents, proven versatility and committed work ethics have allowed him to stand out among the musicians in Los Angeles and the world. Jackson's list of performers with whom he has worked reads like a Who's Who of musical greats. In addition to the aforementioned artists, Paul has performed with artists and groups including Lionel Ritchie, Chicago, Anita Baker, the Crusaders, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, and Sergio Mendes
When you've had a great career, it is difficult to pick out special moments, Paul has taught at worship conferences in Korea, Italy, Guatemala and Honduras,but Jackson points to his trip with Whitney Houston to South Africa in 1995 as being his most spiritual, powerful and soul-energizing music project to date. Paul also cites his guitar work on Michael Jackson's blockbuster History album as another unforgettable experience. Although he was chosen by Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones to play on Bad, Thriller, Triumph and Destiny, the History project was special to him. The future continues to look bright for this extremely talented man.
Though Jackson never got to meet or work with one of his chief guitar influences, Wes Montgomery, he has forged professional relationships with all the others who touched his formative years, including Gary Bell, Earl Klugh, George Benson, Ray Parker Jr., Al McKay and Lee Ritenour.
After over one thousand recordings as a session player, Paul says: “I’ll always enjoy working as a sideman, but these days my solo career is my primary focus and I’m looking forward to getting on the road with my own band.” He adds, “It’s important that I try each time to make a meaningful musical statement about where I am in my life at the time. It’s all about making music that speaks to people, makes them stop what they’re doing and listen, enjoy and feel something positive.”