D.D. JACKSON / D.D. Jackson Mixtape

When Don Pullen died in 1995 I was sad. When I first heard D.D. Jackson, I smiled. Like Pullen, Jackson could make the piano ring. Perhaps the similarity is Jackson's percussive touch, or his chord voicings and the lyrical clarity of his solo melodies, some even think it's the physicality of his playing and the way he can literally make the listener feel, and not just hear, thundering, stair-stepping crescendos. Whatever, they were friends, and Jackson even filled in for Pullen at a concert of Pullen's last compositions when Pullen was too ill to perform. Jackson had studied with Don Pullen and David Murray testifies:

D.D. Jackson is one of the very special new lights in New York City. A few years back Don Pullen called me and made mention that he had one precocious student who he thought was ready. Coming from Mr. Pullen, who many of us feel is the best, this meant something; besides, Don is not one to just throw around accolades. —David Murray

D.D. Jackson is a Canadian-born pianist and composer currently based in New York. As a pianist he has recorded in multiple formats as both a leader and a sideman. As a leader he has done everything from solo to large ensemble. As a composer he has produced award-winning work (including three Emmys and a Juno, the Canadian Grammy) for theater, television and film in addition to his recordings as a jazz artist. Jackson also works in the genre of classical music and has done performances of Bach as well as a recording of Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue. Beyond his work as a musician, he has worked as a columnist for Downbeat magazine, and produces podcasts (available on his website). The man is uber busy. Check out this note on his website from late last year that illustrates the point:

10/10/2011 - It's been a busy several months, not only performing in my capacity as jazz pianist/composer, but, increasingly, as composer for media, writing, producing, mixing, and arranging music in a variety of genres. On the jazz front, I've enjoyed my continued collaboration with Ahmed Abdullah, including a recent tribute performance for the late, great Billy Bang at his St. Peter's Church Memorial, and recent appearances with The Group - an all-star collective featuring myself, Andrew Cyrille on drums, Bob Stewart on tuba, Ahmed Abdullah on trumpet, Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax, and Charles Burnham on violin (including a successful Visionfest appearance). I have also lately begun teaching at the Harlem School of the Arts (along with a former bandmate - the great soprano saxist Sam Newsome), and am continuing my duties as Visiting Lecturer at Hunter College, where I teach courses in Popular Music and Jazz and teach privately... —D.D. Jackson

As minimalist as it may appear in light of the above description, this D.D. Jackson Mixtape focuses only on one recording, Peace-Song, Jackson's 1995 debut as a leader. The band is John Geggie on bass and Jean Martin on drums, plus former employer David Murray on tenor saxophone. All the compositions are by Jackson. What a hell of a coming out session. Murray plays like a man possessed by the spirit. So mighty is Mr. Murray that were the leader/pianist of lesser mien, Jackson certainly would have folded in the face of Murray torrential blowing. But, ah so, the bamboo bends and then snaps right back; D.D. more than holds his own. Jackson's solos are marvels both in terms of their power and in terms of their construction. This man knows the tradition, both the literature of styles and approaches, but also all of the antecedents and tributaries that contribute to the mighty musical river of jazz. You can hear everything in Jackson's playing. There can be no doubt not only is this man an awesome performer, he also knows exactly what he is doing—what a wonder to behear. —Kalamu ya Salaam   D.D. Jackson Mixtape Playlist Peace-Song 01 “Peace-Song” 02 “Waltz for a New Life” 03 “Seasons” 04 “Funerale (For Chris)”  

This entry was posted on Monday, March 5th, 2012 at 12:46 am and is filed under Contemporary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “D.D. JACKSON / D.D. Jackson Mixtape”

D.D. Jackson Says:
March 5th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Hi Kalamu,
Thanks for the mention (I’m flattered!)
All the best –
– D.D. Jackson

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