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.

Gerald Veasley Live at South

Gerald Veasley’s musical odyssey has taken him to the top of the contemporary music world as a bassist, bandleader, composer, producer, educator, and curator. His performance as a six-string bassist has been top shelf, as his extensive body of work attests. Veasley has recorded or performed with many of the world’s top artists in Jazz, R&B and Gospel: Kirk Whalum, Will Downing, Chuck Loeb, Maysa, Nnenna Freelon, Special EFX, Pieces of a Dream, McCoy Tyner, The Jaco Pastorius Big Band, Gerald Levert, Teddy Pendergrass, Philip Bailey, the Dixie Hummingbirds, John Blake, Odean Pope and Pat Martino.
Veasley’s new recording, Live at SOUTH is the latest chapter of a multi-decade career of combining jazz, funk and soul genres into a tantalizing blend of earthy sophistication. Schooled by his mentors Joe Zawinul of Weather Report fame and saxophone giant Grover Washington Jr., the six-string bassist continues to blur musical boundaries with his latest project. As the title suggests, Live at SOUTH was captured live at South Jazz Parlor, a premier jazz venue, located in Veasley’s hometown of Philadelphia. The recording documents Veasley’s outstanding band in a 10 song set of music that is fresh, in-the-moment and crackling with intensity. The songstress Carol Riddick is featured in a breathtaking version of the Sound of Philly classic, “You are Everything”.
Live at SOUTH is also the natural outgrowth of Veasley’s role as a curator of the Unscripted Jazz Series at SOUTH Jazz Parlor. Launched in October 2015 (co- curated by Roxanne Veasley), the series has presented over 140 exciting nights of music to enthusiastic audiences in an intimate setting. The "Unscripted” format is perfectly suited for artists who, like Veasley, have broad musical tastes and experiences. Allowing them to showcase their versatility, the series has attracted many celebrated guest artists: Gerald Albright, David Benoit, Rick Braun, Randy Brecker, Alex Bugnon, Maysa, Raul Midón, Janis Siegel, Peter White, Kirk Whalum, and a growing roster of established and emerging artists.
Having a passion to educate and motivate other musicians, Veasley has served on the faculty of the University of the Arts (Philadelphia). Veasley is also the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Gerald Veasley’s Bass BootCamp. Established in 2002, the annual event has informed and inspired hundreds of bass players of all levels and ages.
Veasley has more intriguing projects on the horizon: “I Got Life”, a studio album and tour in tribute to the life and music of Nina Simone, an all-star album celebrating the musical legacy of his hometown of Philadelphia, and a spinoff of the Unscripted Jazz Series, Pablo Batista’s Latin Jazz Series.
Musician. Educator. Curator. Veasley’s life as a creative professional is clearly multifaceted. Indeed, he wears various “hats” yet he is motivated by a singular purpose - to translate his joy of music to the world - music without boundaries.
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