Paul Jackson - electric bass, vocals
Xantoné Blacq - keyboards, talkbox, percussion, vocals, background vocals
Tony Match - drums, percussion
Recorded at WAX Recordings Studios, London, April, 2014
Engineer - Robert Strauss
Mixed & Mastered by Tyler McDiarmid, NYC Produced by Paul Jackson Trio
Executive Producer - Michael Janisch
released November 3, 2014
ABOUT THE ALBUM
"Paul Jackson is a trailblazer. He has a combination of wisdom, wit, humor (Paul can tell you funny stories for days) and inner drive that have blended together to form his pioneering spirit. Paul grew up in Oakland, California and has lived in Japan for the past 30 years; that explains why this new album is a combination of earthy and seminal funkiness mixed with a modern, experimental approach. The spirit of The Headhunters is evident in the music but you can feel and hear something new as well." - Xantoné Blacq (an excerpt from the liner notes)
Bassist, vocalist, composer-arranger, producer and educator Paul Jackson is known as a “Musician’s Musician.” A founding member of Herbie Hancock’s 'The Headhunters', Paul’s creative output has shaped a new direction in contemporary music. He is one of the world’s most important and influential electric bassists - certainly one of the most studied and copied - and generations of bass players around the globe have been inspired by his signature grooves.
After years of touring the globe with Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, George Benson, Chick Corea, and countless other visionaries, Jackson has assembled his own trio featuring multi-instrumentalist Xantoné Blacq and first-call drummer Tony Match. The Paul Jackson Trio have been touring internationally as of late with some engagements featuring guests Randy Brecker and Pee Wee Ellis, and along the way they've developed a new program of Paul’s music, the result of which is their debut release Groove or Die, recorded at WAX studio in London, England after a thirty date tour of Europe.
Jackson couldn’t be more pleased with his new trio. “I am super happy. When we’re improvising I get the same feeling that I felt when playing with Herbie and The Headhunters. This band has everything I need." Jackson's new trio covers all the bases that the repertoire on Groove or Die requires: from soulful vocal ballads, samba, and driving improv to rock, P-funk, jazz, breakbeat, drum and bass, and beyond, Groove or Die is a mix of emphatic vocals and embroiling instrumentals straight from the maestro himself, influenced by decades of music-making at the highest level. For fans of Paul's bass playing specifically, the album doesn't disappoint-- it's chock full of grit, grime, and soul, delivered in classic Paul Jackson style, complete with his trademark sound and nuances. No doubt a few of these grooves will be added to the 'Paul Jackson bible of bass lines' that players know the world over.
Although Jackson is the central focus his trio is very much a band with equal responsibilities. Paul performs as a vocalist, bassist and chief composer; however, an added bonus on the album is the musical force that is Xantoné Blacq, who turns out some highlight performances-- just listen to his vocal feature on his own composition 'What You Talkin Bout'. He also contributes to the album with background vocals, key solos, percussion and post production layering. Tony Match is the rock throughout the album opting for taste over showmanship, aptly holding down drum chair while performing with one of the world's greatest bassists, no small feat.
Despite all its technical wizardry Groove or Die is a highly accessible album for anyone who loves the craft of songwriting. Paul's lyrics reflect many of life's ups and downs and his vocal delivery is as heartfelt and nuanced as his bass playing. After countless years on the road performing to millions of fans Jackson sincerely believes there are only two choices in life: groove or die. To that, as Blacq appropriately exclaims in the liner notes, "there can be only one response: Groove on Paul, groove on."
"An explosive mix of soul, funk and jazz, with classic as well as new compositions, and perfect support is assured by keyboardist and incidentally also brilliant soul singer Xantone Blacq."
"Chances are you won’t have heard a more goddam funky jazz record all year... staggeringly effortless funk appeal and practically patentable bass line routines."
"We had William Shakespeare's dictum "To be or not to be" (from "Hamlet"); from then the bebop master Dizzy Gillespie gave us "To Be or Not to Bop." And now from the Paul Jackson Trio it is "Groove or Die."
"The people who tear into this music as an outdated, elderly fusion-music, need only listen to Jackson's laid back bass in conjunction with the drums - that's groove."
"Paul Jackson's groove has been the musical center of everyone from Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, George Benson, Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Santana to Stevie Wonder, and with his new trio with Xantoné Blacq (keyboards, percussion, vocals) and Tony Match (drums, percussion) his soul-funk-jazz ambitions are at their most skillful."
"[Jackson] presents the first trio studio album with the excellent companionship he has found in multi-instrumentalist and singer Xantone Blacq and drummer Tony Match."
"Jackson has not lost a beat and has formed a top-class trio in Xantone Blacq and Tony Match."
"A founding member of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters he has for decades been one of the most profiled bass players in the world. Now, Paul Jackson records a crisp fusion jazz album with keyboardist Xantone Blacq and drummer Tony Match. Groove or Die impresses with funky electric bass playing, spacey synth sounds and soulful singing, all driven by the band leader."
"Paul Jackson's discography as a bassist spans the length of the Great Wall with credits on countless pop and funk albums. On his new solo album, groove remains a priority and the feet move automatically... This could pass just as easily as a dance album."
Jazz 'n' More
"Jackson is forever a hero... Few bass men have dug that jazz funk groove so deep."
Radio Okerwelle (CD of the Week)
"Black music entertainment at its finest!... A very unique sound."
"What a title, what a life motto! Jackson's manifesto underpins the album with an irresistible groove that is built from the compact trio playing."
"Blends his love of funk and infinite capacity to groove with his cartoonish sense of humor and gospel-tinged vocals. Jackson does indeed groove in his own inimitable fashion while offering nimble, funky bass solos."
"The sounds are soul; it's groove at its best."
"The founding member of the legendary Headhunters presents his new trio with a loads of soul, funky, groove, and jazz virtuosity."
"When I received my disc I thought the title looked a little threatening. I thought, 'Will it groove me?' The pillar of 'The Headhunters' succeeded... Very funky, with a trace of gospel."
Music an sich
"The massive, funky bass meets spacey synth sounds and a stoic acting percussion; soulful, funky and flashy... Excellent."
"Virtuoso bass lines and intricate grooves."
"It’s said that once you’re in the right groove, you don’t wanna come out – and here’s proof from a slick triumvirate whose saturation of sound easily exceeds its number."
"Groove Or Die offers plenty of grooves to choose, delivered by a masterful band... Bassist extraordinaire."
★★★★ All About Jazz
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is what it is all about."
"Mixtures of harmonics and deep groove lines marks Paul Jackson as one of the most important and recognized of bassists. His interplay is still frequently copied today and rarely achieved."
Guitar & Bass Magazine