Jenifer Jackson
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Jenifer Jackson

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Poetic Intelligent Lyrics"

“Jackson mixes poetic, intelligent lyrics with a voice that at one moment sounds as if it could knock you on your back and the next as if it could be shattered by so much as a breath.” -Performing Songwriter - Performing Songwriter


"Possessed with Complexity and Grace"

Whether she's wheeling through a breezy Burt Bacharach-styled arrangement, vocally fluttering between Rickie Lee Jones and Edith Piaf, or writing with the determined but delicate clarity of Joni Mitchell, Jenifer Jackson is an artist possessed of complexity and grace.

So High, her third record (and first for Bar/None), is such an unusual and self-possessed recording that comparing her too closely to the above artists does her a disservice. Jackson doesn't mimic them. She doesn't particularly try to sound like anybody but herself. But, as evidenced by the staggering array of styles so expertly tackled in this 11-song release, she has absorbed, and in some cases improved upon, most of the finest aspects of delicious, opulent pop.

The bubbly, Swan Dive-reminiscent opener The Power of Love sets the stage for a sumptuous record. Jackson, producer Pat Sansone (The Autumn Defense, Andrew Bird, Josh Rouse) and an outstanding band create a thick, dark, captivating sonic world - something that would translate visually to a cross between film noir and a classic Blue Note record cover.

The record unfolds into a series of emotionally complicated and musically breathtaking songs that range from the hushed, high-plains whisper of Since You've Been Away to the sprawling, sexy grooves of Got to Have You and the standout So High. Somebody needs to kiss Sansone on the mouth for that bass line. A sugary Brill Building-style jaunt through We Will Be Together and the woozy, Astrud Gilberto-reminiscent Look Down round out this nigh-on-perfect set.

The most difficult part of writing about a record like So High is that there aren't enough superlatives to truly express just how damn good this music is. Go buy it.
- Clay Steakley /Nashville Rage
- Nashville Rage


"Magically Poignant Pop Songs"

Like the tenderly drooping branches of a weeping willow, like the leaf that bows to the ground against the rain, like the butterfly that stops to light upon your outstretched finger, Jenifer weaves magically poignant pop songs that somehow seem to paint misty landscapes in the mind, touched by a bittersweet, condensed sweetness. With airy, skyward vocals and an overflowing toolbox of grooves and beats, this woman is injecting herself into the sisterhood of Norah Jones, Cowboy Junkies, Elliot Smith and Nick Drake adoptees. Totally charming. -- CD Baby

*Featured in CD Baby Compilation "Natural Beauty" - CD Baby


"...Best I've Ever Heard"

"I can't believe how great she is. I'm hard to impress when it comes to singer songwriters. She belongs with some of the best I've ever heard. There's something ineffible -- magical -- about her, about the timbre of her voice, like a gorgeous alto saxophone. This may sound ridiculous, but when she sings "We Will Be Together" she sound like nothing so much as Jackson Browne. Other times I'm hearing Astrid Gilberto, but it's all her, all her. If Norah Jones hadn't won all those Grammies I would swear that she is too good to make it big."

John Swenson/UPI - United Press International


"Best Album of 2007"

March 2007 Lucid Culture
Choice pick:
Jenifer Jackson - The Outskirts of a Giant Town

Her best album, the first instant classic to be
released this year. Over the course of her previous
six albums, Jackson has carved out a niche that is
uniquely her own, even though she wears her
influences on her sleeve (Bacharach, the Beatles, and
Brazilian jazz/pop most notably). There's an
impressive clarity of vision that pervades her music
-a courageous one. It's what Camus meant by "lucidite"
- it's evident from the first song on this album that
this is someone who is firing on all cylinders, every
synapse wide awake and often painfully aware of what's
going on. Her melancholy, intricate, jazz-inflected
psychedelia doesn't shy away from despair or
loneliness. But there's always a light at the end of
the tunnel: as strange as it may seem at first listen,
this is ultimately a hopeful, optimistic album.
Recorded live in the studio in order to evince as much
interplay between musicians as possible, it's a
multistylistic tour de force, opening with Don't Fade,
old school 60s- 70s soul with fluttery organ fills
and a soaring vocal. Like Sandy Denny, Jackson's
formidable prowess as a singer may not be physical -
she's not a big belter - but she packs an emotional
wallop.

The album's next cut Suddenly Unexpectedly, set to a
fast shuffle beat with a bossa melody and layers of
keys is pure psychedelic tropicalia. The following
track, Saturday, is something of an epic, the most
powerful song she's ever recorded. It starts out
somewhat Beatlesque, like a George song from the White
Album. She pedals a chord through the verse, then all
of a sudden the minor-key chorus descends: "It doesn't
matter anyway - I'll keep it in my memory, that lovely
Saturday" Then the second verse kicks in, and
everything picks up a notch. Jackson is also a
painter, and as the images unwind, this tersely
imagistic portrait of a young woman absolutely and
heartbreakingly alone is absolutely, heartbreakingly
beautiful.

After that, we get I Want to Start Something, more
old-school soul psychedelia, accordionist Sonny
Barbato playing some delicious licks off Jackson's
equally tasty rhythm guitar. Then her voice takes
flight again at the end of the verse: "I'd like to
find a place that feels like home.been so many places
I don't know why I can't find it."

The next cut Dreamland begins with a strangely
captivating, tinkly piano intro into a wash of
cymbals, then Jackson's guitar kicks in all by itself.
It's Nashville gothic with all kinds of eerie, echoey
effects from lead player Oren Bloedow's guitar,
scarier than the fast, bluegrass-inflected version she
used to play live, and a gorgeously sad lyric: "The
way you loved me was a sin/I played a game I couldn't
win/But still I tried to enter in/To the outer edge of
Dreamland."

Other standout tracks on the cd include the title
track, gentle pastoral raga rock evocative of
Meddle-era Pink Floyd, with an amazing piano break by
Barbato; Anywhere I Would Journey, with its slow
descending progression and watery lead guitar; The
Change, an epic old-school soul song that Isaac Hayes
would be proud to have written; and For You, which
with its tricky time changes and 60s garage rock feel
wouldn't be out of place on a Love Camp 7 record.

This album is generously multi-purpose: it's a hell of
a headphone album, it would make a great bedroom
record, but it's also a good thing to give to anyone
you know who's going off the deep end. Jackson's
gentle, soft voice and her wise, knowing lyrics offer
a kind of solace that's completely absent in indie
rock, and the inspiring interplay of the killer band
behind her is mesmerizing. She deserves props for
having the guts to reach down into the abyss to come
up with some of the songs on this album, while never
losing sight of the subtle, frequently surreal wit
that so many of them are imbued with. It's only March,
but I think we've found the best album of 2007 and
this is it.

- Lucid Culture


"Listen to the Music"

THE OUTSKIRTS OF A GIANT TOWN • Jenifer Jackson

You want an antidote for your craziness. Something you can turn on when you come home and hit a beautiful chill. Your car is here. And take one of these.

JJ's soothing voice is never saying listen to me; it's always saying listen to the music. I'm so grateful for that. Because when I'm listening to the music, I'm also listening to some little place inside myself that is breathing something so essential and so ignorable.

And the sweeping cavalier genius of producer Brad Jones is in full effect here, in the quiet majesty of the arrangements and the atmosphere. The gifted players are so in touch and so in tune with the music of Jenifer Jackson, whose tempo is unbound by time. Most or all have been with her on stage or studio whenever life allows for a number of years. The essence of their contributions is beyond words, because some occur in dimensions outside the corporeal.

Oren Bloedow's shimmering presence on guitar is a world unto itself. I've never heard him vault the ledge in JJ's music the way he does on "The Change," breathtaking. In fact, I find myself doing passes of this precious record concentrating on one player at a time, and following them down the unique traverse of their path through these tunes, and I'm learning from each of them. Sonny Barbato on Wurlitzer, organ, piano, and accordion, there's so much music under his hands. Pat Sansone on bass, melotron, vibes, and organ is a shape shifter. Greg Wieczorek (aka G-whiz) on drums and percussion is always at the right place at the right time, indispensable. He also sings, along with Oren and Pat, through the disc. The addition of Nate Walcott on trumpet and flugel horn is inspired.

The oriental ambience of the title track is a new flavor, fascinating. I truly get something I can feel from the music of this artist that I cannot do without, and am truly in awe of the truth of that.

I've said it before, many times, many ways. This artist should be huge, she's that good and more. I want to live in the world where she's a big star. In fact, I do live in that world. I'll meet you there, on The Outskirts of a Giant Town.
• Frank Goodman - Pure Music.com


"Jenifer Jackson Interview"

The Light at the End of the Tunnel:
Jenifer Jackson

Genuine, experienced, and versatile, Jenifer Jackson is a singer/songwriter whose music seeks out the most fundamental human experiences: love, melancholy, redemption, and joy. With a collage of genres deftly arranged and reinvented through her unique vision, she erases borders and speaks to a broad audience of music lovers. Jenifer's new album, So High (Bar None), is peppered with instrumental surprises (note church bells) and has an enduring lyrical quality.

We spoke with her from Austin where she and her band played the legendary Cactus Café, which, she noted, "is one of the few places down here where people really sit down and listen." She will be playing again in New York and the New England area after the release of So High on March 11.

WOMANROCK:

In your recent performances are you singing mostly songs off the new album, So High?

Jenifer:

Yeah, as a rule, these past few months I've been playing mostly new stuff off the record, plus a few things I haven't recorded yet.

WOMANROCK:

How has it been to work with Bar None for the first time?

Jenifer:

They're really nice people, I trust them, and it's a small company, so I don't feel like I'm getting into something where I'm going to be politicking a lot. I can just talk to them. I think it'll be good. They'll be working it [So High] to radio a bit, and they've gotten a publicist to help with some press. So they're doing more than I would be doing on my own.

WOMANROCK:

What are your expectations for this particular album?

Jenifer:

It's my third CD that's going to be coming out here in the States, and I think out of all of them, this is my most accessible and the most immediate. I think some of my expectations would be that more people get to hear it, that it gets out there more, and that it kind of opens up some doors for me to be able to do more road work and possibly get a little bit more connected with film. I think that a lot of the music is really soundtrack-friendly.

WOMANROCK:

In listening to it, I could identify moments of funk, psychedelic, soul, and jazz. When you are in the record store, where do you find Jenifer Jackson CDs?

Jenifer:

In the past they've just been under vocalists, or maybe under pop.

WOMANROCK:

Would you say that those are accurate categorizations?

Jenifer:

I think it's a little tough because I feel like my writing is kind of an amalgamation. There's old-school pop, I have a little bit of jazz influence, definitely some soul influence, Bossa Nova, which is one of my favorite types of music, that also kind of creeps into some of my songs. I think it's tough to put it into a one-word category, but I also think of it as soft rock in a way even though we don't use that category anymore. I feel like it has that rock/pop foundation, but it's kind of mellow and it's kind of melody driven and lyric driven. Maybe this is why I'm not on a major label.

WOMANROCK:

How did you and your producer Pat Sansone collaborate in the decision-making process, and how did you agree about when a song was done?

Jenifer:

I'm very wary of it being overdone. In a way it was fun, and interesting, and also beneficial, I think, to work with Pat because he leaned toward putting a lot of stuff on it, and my tendency would be to keep it really simple. I think we were a good check and balance for each other. I never wanted it to get to a point where the production overpowered the actual song and the lyrics and just the basic song structure. One of the most important parts of mixing, and something that we kept falling back on, was just making sure that everything had its space, and that if there was a little string part, that it had its moment so that you could hear it and it wasn't crowded. Kind of like a painting. That's when it just becomes more visual, and you try to place it in a way so that everything is in proper perspective in a way. Obviously, my stuff is really personal and about my life and reflections on things that are going on in my life, but then the other side of it is that I'm always inspired by visuals.

WOMANROCK:

How do your past albums and experiences in making them compare with So High?

Jenifer:

I think the making of these records has been an ongoing learning process for me. The first one never got released and is sitting in this guy's house in France and he wouldn't give me the master. The second one was Slowly Bright, which I made with my old bass player, Paul Brian, who lived in Boston at the time. So that process took a really long time and it was laborious and there was a lot of arguing, and we were also trying not to hurt each other's feelings but it wasn't that much fun. The next album was Birds, which I made with Brad Jones down in Nashville just kind of on the spur of the moment. That one was really live and we did the entire record from start to finish probably in about ten days.

He [Pat Sa - WOMAN ROCK


"Splendid Singing & Songwriting"

Jenifer Jackson's new record easily could have not worked. Departing from her previous efforts—1999's self-released Slowly Bright and 2001's Birds (Parasol)—she drops the countryish acoustic rock and moves further afield. Along with the expected strumming and a warm, forlorn accordion, So High sports Air-like synths, groovy harpsichords, Beatlesque guitars and bass lines, and even a get-down groove worthy of Barry White. Fortunately, rather than resulting in a mismatched smorgasbord, these touches make the album a gleaming showcase for the New Yorker's splendid songwriting and singing.
As her voice veers smoothly from angelic to angry, Jackson ushers the listener into her songs of loss, hope and matter-of-fact heartbreak. In the bossa novainflected "End of August," for instance, she sings, "Along the path that leads to the sea I walk alone / These are days when hearts must learn / How to love and lose and start again / And I know it's not the end." On the cryptic "Blue Forever Mine," Jackson delicately seeks answers in the wind and the rain, "when the thoughts are heavy." There may be a lot going on in So High, and a lot to ponder, but as Jackson joked at a recent show, "It's exhausting to be such a soft rocker!"—Ivor Hanson
- Time Out NY (New York)


"The Next Norah Jones"

Out of New York, Jackson's a wisp of velvet voiced guitar playing songstress who to judge by this, her third album, clearly spent many months of her formative years dreaming in her bedroom to a mixed album collection of Carole King, Laura Nyro, Marvin Gaye, Astrid Gilberto and Burt Bacharach.

Thus there's the folksy pop of Down So Low and the sunshine 60s We Will Be Together, a country-folk Through Leaves, 70s soul rippling through Got To Have You and The Power of Love (which manages to fuse She's Not There and You're So Vain in the opening bars) and laid back bossa nova sways for Since You've Been Away and Got To Have You.

As cool as fragrant deodorant in a sultry cityscape, ably assisted by multi-instrumentalist producer Patrick Sansone, Jackson brings a delicate sexy perspiration to the title track and the wind chiming summery float down the stream acoustic delicacy of Blue Forever Mine, while The Invitation opens on a chugging train rhythm before skipping its heels down some jazzman's boulevard, chiffon scarf fluttering in the breeze behind her.

She may flit through an assortment of easy on the ear sophisticated musical genres, but what remains consistent is the fluidity of her vocals, forming themselves to whatever shapes the music demands and the urban romance concerns of her lyrics, whether she's talking about the power of love to provide meaning, the thrill of that first encounter or the melancholy of hearts healing.

She's currently without a European deal, so perhaps someone could just start whispering things like 'the next Norah Jones' and then stand back to avoid the rush.

www.jeniferjackson.com
Mike Davies
- NET RHYTHMS UK


"A Great Artist"

JENIFER JACKSON – So High (Bar-None Import)
(English translation from French)

New York-born Jenifer Jackson is still looking for a label in Europe. God
knows her music deserves to be known over here: a few listens of this record
convince we're hearing a great artist. A sensual and intelligent, rich and
subtle mix of pop and soul music, So High is perfect to nurse oneself in positive
vibrations. This is music for the mind and the body. Let's underline the
melodies, the pleasure, the skin-felt sweetness, and let's appreciate the flesh of
this music, its supple and organic texture. The title-track, for example, has
the kind of power you don't measure in decibels, and shows a majestic easiness.
You need savoir-faire to make a sound that works so well. Jenifer being a
musician's daughter (Julian Jackson, jazzy area) might be for something. Her
singing, experienced and always in tune, sounds like a breathy wind, and has the
lightness of a mist. Let's also salute the essential Patrick Sansone, who's for
a major part of the instrumental sounds (we can appreciate his work on the
latest records of Josh Rouse, Joseph Arthur, Swan Dive and the Autumn Defense,
his band with Wilco's bassist John Stirratt).

In eleven titles I refuse to analyse separately since all is a matter of
harmony and homogeneity, I simply state this is one of the best records of the
year. It seems that all the albums of Jenifer Jackson diffuse the same grace,
by the way: Birds, a more intimate previous one, was sublime already. But, for
Good Music's sake, which label in France to perceive it? – Hugues Oresetti

***** to shelve near Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye

JENIFER JACKSON - So High - (Bar/None Records – import)

Aux dernières nouvelles, la new yorkaise Jenifer Jackson cherchait encore un label en
Europe. Fichtre ! Dieu sait si sa musique mérite d’être distribuée par ici : quelques
écoutes de ce disque suffisent à convaincre qu’il s’agit là d’une artiste supérieure. Sorte
de pop-soul riche et subtile, combinant intelligence et sensualité, So High est idéal pour
se ressourcer en vibrations bienfaitrices. De la musique pour le corps et l’esprit.
Soulignons donc les mélodies, la volupté, la douceur à fleur de peau, et le fait que cette
musique a une chair, une texture souple et organique. Le morceau-titre, par exemple,
est d’une puissance qui ne se mesure pas en décibels et fait preuve d’une majestueuse
aisance. Pour que cette musique passe si bien, sans accroc et sans que l’on s’ennuie
deux secondes, il faut du savoir-faire. Que Jenifer soit fille de musicien (Julian Jackson,
sphère jazz) ne doit pas y être étranger. Son chant, expert et d’une rare justesse,
s’apparente à un souffle, fluide et léger comme de la buée. Et il faut ici saluer
l’indispensable Patrick Sansone, qui orchestre et malaxe les instruments à lui tout seul
ou presque (on a aussi pu entendre Pat Sansone sur les derniers Josh Rouse, Joseph
Arthur, Swan Dive, et The Autumn Defense, son groupe avec John Stirratt, le bassiste
de Wilco).
A l’écoute des onze titres de cet album, que je me refuse de décortiquer tant tout y est
affaire d’harmonie et d’osmose, je ne constaterai qu’une chose : c’est un des meilleurs
disques de l’année. Il semble que tous les disques de Jenifer Jackson diffusent un
même état de grâce : Birds, l’album précédent, plus intimiste et berceur, était déjà
sublime. Mais quel label en France, bon sang, pour s’en apercevoir ? – Hugues Oresetti

***** à ranger non loin de Curtis Mayfield et Marvin Gaye
- CROSSROADS MAGAZINE (France)


Discography

Outskirts of a Giant Town (Self Released 2007)
Jenifer Jackson Sings the Carole King Songbook Vol.1 ( Bar None 2005 unreleased)
Passaporto (Self–released 2005)
So High (Bad Reputation, France 2004)
Girasole, (Italian EP Self- released 2004)
So High, (Bar/ None Records 2003)
Together in Time, (Self- released 2002)
Birds (Parasol USA, and Ulftone Europe 2001)
Slowly Bright (Self Released 1999)
Love Lane (Seven-Twenty Records 1998)
Welcome to my Solar System,(Stiff Records, France 1998)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Jenifer Jackson is a singer’s singer and a writer’s writer. Her soulful, wistful voice coupled with her classic, melodic writing have critics comparing her to such notables as Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Astrud Gilberto, Burt Bacharach and Marvin Gaye.

She has toured the USA and Europe promoting her numerous releases: Love Lane, Slowly Bright, Birds, Together in Time, So High, Girasole, Passaporto and now, Outskirts of a Giant Town.

In the US she supported Jules Shear on his Duet tour, as well as Sophie B. Hawkins, Ian Moore, Luka Bloom. She has played overseas with Jack Bruce, Hugo Race, Nick Cave, Chris Brokaw, Marta Collica, Richard Julian, among others.

Among her other collaborations, Jackson has co-written songs with Austin's Troy Campbell, with Swan Dive for their album June (Compass), with Mads Mouritz for his Danish release This Chaos Called Love and co-written and recorded two songs with the Italian band Noorda for their CD, L'antipole, (Desvelos Records).

A gifted composer, Jackson composed and sang the score for the award winning indie feature film Daydream Believer, which won a 2001 Independent Spirit Award.

On stage she co-starred with Rosie Perez in the off-off Broadway play Brooklyn Bridge.

Her release on Bar None Records, So High, made its mark on radio stations nationwide and landed on many a year-end "Best of 2003" lists including: WKUT in Austin and WFUV in New York. Tangents UK named So High “Best Soft Pop Album" of 2003.

Jenifer appeared on World Cafe with David Dye, Mountain Stage, and NPR's "All Things Considered"

So High was released in France on Bad Reputation Records during Spring of 2005 and it incudes two French re-mixes—“La Force de L'Amour” and “Si Haut”.

Also in 2005, Jenifer recorded a yet to be released album of Goffin-King hits from the 60's and 70's, which was produced by Pat Sansone. (Wilco, Autumn Defense).

Jackson performed at the legendary Olympia Theater in Paris for the first International Crossroads Night, and was a featured performer in the nationally syndicated television series "Spotlight On Performing Songwriters."

Jackson is a multi-lingual songwriter as evidenced by the EP Girasole, a collection of original acoustic Italian ballads and Passaporto a collection of romantic, acoustic songs in sung Italian, Portuguese, French and Spanish both produced by Brad Jones.

In 2007, look for Outskirts of a Giant Town, a spare and intimate independent release from this prolific songbird.

CONTACT:

Amanda Case
AIC Entertainment
206.781.3956