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 of 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. Simpson’s soulful approach to music has made him first call for many including Janet Jackson, Teena Marie, George Duke, Stanley Clarke and Dave Koz. 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 timeless anthems.
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.”
Hailing from Gurnee, Illinois, Brian always knew music would play center stage in his life. “Our house was filled with music. I never really considered any other lifestyle,” shares the keyboardist. Simpson’s breakthrough as a solo artist began in 2005 with the #1 radio hit “It’s All Good.” The title track of It’s All Good proved instantly and joyfully prophetic, as it hit #1 on the Radio & Records Smooth Jazz Airplay chart and remained in the Top 5 for four months. His follow-up single, “Saturday Cool,” went Top 15. In 2007 Simpson released Above the Clouds, which delivered the memorable radio hits “What Cha Gonna Do?” (Top 10) and “Juicy” (Top 15).
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, Billy Cobham, and Gerald Albright. Brian had been the musical director for jazz saxophonist Dave Koz for close to 20 years, and for a decade the Musical Director of the ambitious and highly popular “The Smooth Jazz Cruise.”
In 2010 Simpson released South Beach whose title track snagged a #1 slot on the charts. Just What You Need followed in 2013 featuring the Antônio Carlos Jobim/ Vinicius de Moraes classic “The Girl From Ipanema” which hit #1 on the charts and “Emerald City,” a top 3 hit. 2015’s Out Of A Dream featured the Top Ten single “Skywatcher.”
With the release of Persuasion, 2017 should prove to be a year Brian Simpson further asserts himself as one of the most thrilling and innovative pioneers on the contemporary jazz scene.