vintage gibson

Michael Gregory Jackson, putting his Superman into it, onstage with his Stratocaster Deluxe.

photo by Jon King

When the lifelong 6-string freedom fighter found himself burdened by the weight of systemic racism in an increasingly hostile climate, he found solace in the healing power of his git boxes—and a new solo album.

During the climax of the final piece of an ensemble concert held at a gallery in New Haven, Connecticut, guitarist Michael Gregory Jackson climbed up a stepladder so tall that an acrophobic would have a heart attack just looking at it. Once high up in the sky, Jackson let loose a bucket of ping-pong balls in the direction of the audience. “Kinetic motion, sonically beautiful, startling, if not shocking,” recalls Jackson, “The concept was to break and disturb the plane and formality—the distance between the performers and the audience. To add a little mayhem and surprise. It also sounded great.”

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