Inspired keyboardist, composer, prolific studio musician and producer Brian Simpson is a master of all he purveys. His eloquent approach to playing, sophisticated harmonics sense, bluesy overtones, R&B flavor and keen sense on how to craft a song that stands the test of time have made him the go-to man for many. Through the years Simpson has been revered for his unparalleled ability to compose unforgettable melodies and irresistible grooves. “I never approach two songs the same way,” confesses Simpson. “When someone hums your song, it’s the melody they are humming so as important as the groove is, the melody is still king.” Simpson’s soulful approach to the music has made him first call for many including Janet Jackson, Teena Marie, George Duke, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz, for whom he has had the distinction of being musical director for close to two decades. A chart-topping musical chameleon who wrote the #1 R&B hit “The First Time” for Surface in the 1990s, Brian Simpson has a knack for churning out genre-bending timeless anthems. George Duke once said “What I love about Brian’s playing is his understanding that melody and groove are important.” Simpson’s approach is simple, “I’m following in the footsteps of those that laid the foundation of contemporary jazz music. The fusing of jazz and R&B is just what contemporary jazz is all about.”
Simpson’s latest masterwork is the perfect amalgamation of music that is close to his heart – Jazz, R&B, Funk and Soul. Out Of A Dream (Released February 17, 2015) is Simpson’s sixth album as a leader and third recording for Shanachie Entertainment. “When I first embarked on making this album, I was at a point where I felt I had to take my music to a different place,” explains Simpson who enlists nine different co-composers on the album that keep the sound ever-evolving and fresh. “By collaborating with other composers I was able to explore different styles of writing while still maintaining my own vibe.” Out Of A Dream unites Brian Simpson with an all-star cast including saxophonists Najee, Dave Koz and Grace Kelly, guitarists Marc Antoine and Norman Brown, singer Maysa and trumpeter Maurice Brown among others.
“Out Of A Dream opens with the spirited, exhilarating and soulful “One Of A Kind,” featuring the young and much talked about saxophonist and vocalist Grace Kelly. “I co-wrote the song with guitarist Nils and it was the perfect vehicle to showcase the virtuosity of Grace. I was enjoying what she was playing so much I just let her solo freely at the end of the song, and the result speaks for itself!” The hypnotic title track joins Simpson with label-mate Najee, who superbly compliments the pianist with this ethereal flute playing. Although the two have known each other for years, this song marks the first time the duo has ever recorded with one another. “I was so inspired by Najee’s beautiful flute cadenza at the beginning of the song, that I decided to name both the song and album Out Of A Dream. It just made me think of waking up from a dream...a ‘very’good dream!”
When you hear the composition “When I Say Your Name,” a seductive collaboration between Simpson and Dave Koz, you understand why the powerful two-some have managed to successfully collaborate with one another for decades. Their fluid, free-flowing and telepathic interplay makes for a high point on the album. “Dave came to my studio and within 30-minutes he had written the chorus melody and recorded it. When I asked him if he could come up with a song title, he said ‘When I Say Your Name!’ Simpson and Koz prove that when the chemistry is right not even the sky is the limit.