A Nile Rodgers production, featuring Steve Winwood on keyboards and Niles fellow Chic alumni, Bernard Edwards on bass, from Michael Gregory Jackson’s 1983, Situation X.
Jackson spent the late seventies working the NYC Free Jazz loft scene, playing guitar with the likes of Oliver Lake, Anthony Braxton, David Murray, Baikida Carroll, Pheeroan Aklaff and Leo Smith as evidenced on solo LPs and his contributions to the scene defining Wildflowers compilation series. By the time of Situation X, Jackson had shifted into a more commercial R&B/Pop mode with the resultant, No Ordinary Romance, being a standout track. With the aforementioned team of hit making vets at his side, No Ordinary Romance should have been a radio staple. The song, carried between the beautiful contrapuntal guitar and keyboard melodies, is backed by a HUGE drum sound; think Billy Squier’s, Big Beat, mixed with some of Phil Collins more pounding eighties rhythms, like Abacab, or Frida’s, I Know There’s Something Going On. Who is drumming on this track?! Also, Jackson’s sweet, pining, voice is tailor made for the material. No less a talent than Al Jarreau would go on to cover this song, and even he can’t pull it off this well.
It’s a shame that this cut didn’t receive the airplay of which it was deserving. Maybe if this had been featured in a emotionally conflicted Rico Tubbs romance, in Miami Vice, it would be recognized as a classic of it’s time (and really, it would have nailed that scene!). Extraordinarily, as much as it sounds distinctly of it’s time, the unique melody and powerful production keep it sounding fresh and relevant.
Jackson has a Soundcloud page, with what must be an almost complete catalog of his solo work, including Situation X, in it’s entirety. https://soundcloud.com/michaelgregoryjackson