Paul Jackson

Black Octopus - 2023 Reissue

Image of Paul Jackson - Black Octopus - 2023 Reissue
Record Label
Tidal Waves Music

About this item

Rare Jazz-Funk album from 1978 by Headhunters founder. Featuring an all-star lineup including Herbie Hancock.

Paul Jackson (born in Oakland, California in 1947) needs little introduction. Paul began playing bass at the age of nine and was considered by many of his teachers to be a musical prodigy. Jackson was known as a “Musician’s Musician” and shaped a sound that launched a new direction in contemporary music: the so-called ‘Pulse Playing’, a trademark sound of close-meshed funk grooves combined with sensational rhythms. With this innovative approach, he influenced entire generations of jazz and funk musicians to come. Paul’s compositions were sampled by big acts from the likes of Prince, TLC, Mobb Deep and NWA…just to name a few.

Paul Jackson was a founding member of the Headhunters under Herbie Hancock (THE group responsible for their ground-breaking fusion and jazzfunk compositions that took the world by storm in the 70’s). The solid union between Hancock and Jackson has been especially evident in the many international tours they have made together…not to mention that he participated on most of the Headhunters albums and Herbie’s solo albums. Paul has also worked as a producer and as a studio/live musician alongside acts such as Santana, Sonny Rollins and The Pointer Sisters. He was a frequent guest performer at renowned international festivals such as the Montreux and Newport events. Jackson’s composing has not gone without recognition and was nominated for Grammy Awards in 1974, 1975 and 1976. Like other highly talented, creatively motivated engineers of music, Paul has expanded his career to other mediums such as playing on blockbuster movie soundtracks such as “Death wish” and “Dirty Harry”.

Paul Jackson also wrote five solo albums worth listening to – including the monster of an album that is known as “Black Octopus” which is considered to be a kind of lost Headhunters album.

His debut album “Black Octopus” saw the light of day in 1978 and is a total piece of art filled with abstract sticky funky grooves, floating electric piano playing, strong thumping bass lines, raw heavy drums and amazing vocal acrobatics (Jackson himself takes vocals in 3 out of 5 songs, and his soulful singing voice strikes an emotional chord that does not go unnoticed). On “Black Octopus” you’ll also find some of the best all-star musicians from the likes of Alphonse Mouzon (Roy Ayers, Betty Davis, Azar Lawrence)…and last but not least fellow Headhunters Bennie Maupin and Herbie Hancock himself.

With “Black Octopus” Paul Jackson wrote the book on how a jazz-funk-fusion album should sound like. The fact that the album was only distributed in Japan at the time (Jackson resided in Tokyo since the late 70’s, where he passed away in 2021) continues to increase its reputation as an album that is VERY hard to find. This is a must-have gem…not only for fans of jazz, funk and rare grooves, but also for DJs and collectors around the globe.


Black Octopus Part 1 - Many Directions
Black Octopus Part 2 - Eight Ways Of Love
Funk Times Three
Burning In The Heat (of Your Love)
Tiptoe Thru The Ghetto

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