The 2018 Jazz At The Amp

Brian Simpson

Brian Simpson Website

Celebrated keyboardist, composer and studio musician, Brian Simpson  has been the ‘go-to’ man for everyone from Janet Jackson and Teena Marie  to George Duke, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz, for whom he has had the  distinction of being musical director for the past 15 years.  The  chart-topping musical chameleon who wrote the #1 R&B hit “The First  Time” for Surface in the 1990s confesses, “Ultimately, my listeners  inspire me to make my music.”

After graduating from Northern Illinois University, Simpson relocated  to Los Angeles where he quickly immersed himself in the local jazz  scene.  Late night jazz sessions found him playing alongside everyone  from saxophonists Everette Harp and Boney James to guitarist Norman  Brown.   The free-spirited musician soon found himself taking a  temporary leave of absence from the jazz scene, touring the world with  pop divas Teena Marie, Sheena Easton and Janet Jackson.  His foray into  the pop world didn’t end there; in January 1991 he co-wrote the #1 Pop  hit “The First Time” by Surface, which conquered both the R&B and  Adult Contemporary charts.

Placing his success in pop aside, Brian Simpson has always been a  working jazz musician.  He has toured with some of the greats of recent  jazz history, including George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Larry Carlton, Kirk  Whalum, and Jonathan Butler.  Brian has been the musical director for  jazz saxophonist Dave Koz for the past 15 years, and for the last 8 years the Musical Director, of the highly popular  “Smooth Jazz Cruise”  featuring Marcus Miller and David Sanborn.

Known for his ability to sculpt timeless love songs, soulful party  anthems and melodies that stay on your mind, Brian Simpson is truly a  master at his craft. South Beach, his inaugural album for Shanachie Entertainment,  delivers on every front. The album’s title track, with a jubilant vibe  reminiscent of the Ramsey Lewis smash hit “The In Crowd,” is already top  20 on multiple jazz charts, two months prior to album release. ”I’m  very happy we chose ‘South Beach’ as the first single,” confides  Simpson, “because it’s probably the song that’s most indicative of my  style. My travels take me to some pretty nice places, but my favorites  are always the ones with beaches. In the last year I’ve been to Hawaii,  Bali, Indonesia, and several beaches in Florida. The wind, sea, and sand really inspired the melodies you’ll hear.

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