About Brian Simpson
Keyboardist and composer Brian Simpson is a sought-after studio musician and musical director who has regularly crossed from jazz to pop and R&B.
Raised in Gurnee, Illinois, Simpson grew up in a musical family and eventually earned his music degree from Northern Illinois University. After graduating, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he found work performing with such artists as Boney James, Norman Brown, and Everette Harp. This led to stints touring with a variety of pop artists, including Janet Jackson and Teena Marie. In 1991, Simpson garnered more attention after co-writing Surface's number one hit R&B single "The First Time." As a studio musician, Simpson has worked with such artists as Stanley Clarke, Kirk Whalum, and George Duke. Since the late '90s, he has acted as musical director for saxophonist Dave Koz.
Simpson has released several solo albums, including 1995's Closer Still and 2005's It's All Good. Two years later, he delivered the full-length Above the Clouds. In 2013, Simpson released Just What You Need, featuring guest appearances by Gerald Albright, Marc Antoine, Elan Trotman, and Jonathan Butler. Out of a Dream followed two years later. In 2016, he returned with his seventh solo effort, and fourth for the Shanachie label, Persuasion. The album featured performances with a cast of smooth jazz luminaries including saxophonist Boney James, guitarist Peter White, bassist Axel Al, and others. Something About You arrived in 2018, and included the single "Morning Samba." In 2020, Simpson paired with guitarist Steve Oliver for Unified, which debuted at number 21 on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. ~ Matt Collar