D. D. Jackson
Canadian-born, New York-based pianist/ composer D.D. Jackson re-signed with Justin Time Records in 2001 after two CD’s on RCA Victor, and promptly released “Sigame” to unanimous critical acclaim. Now Jackson has produced what is arguably his finest, most heartfelt work to date: “Suite for New York” (2003 Justin Time), his 11th CD and a large-scale work that is both a celebration of Jackson’s adoptive city and also a meditation on the tragic events of 9/11. It is also a work which combines his backgrounds of jazz and classical music in a fresh, organic way, and features the legendary James Spaulding on alto sax and flute, along with a bevy of Canadian talent including Metalwood’s Brad Turner on trumpet, rounded out by a string section led by Jackson mainstay Christian Howes on violin and the pianist’s longtime trio featuring Cuban-born Dafnis Prieto on drums and bassist Ugonna Okegwo. The core of this group is now touring as the D.D. Jackson Octet.
The 37-year-old Jackson was recently nominated for Composer of the Year, Album of the Year, International Musician of the Year, Musician of the Year, and Pianist of the Year in the 2004 National Jazz Awards in Canada. He previously was named the 2002 National Jazz Awards Socan Composer/Songwriter of the Year, the 2000 and 1996 Jazz Report Composer of the Year, and won the 2000 Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album (his CD's have been nominated six times). Jackson was also previously named the Downbeat Critics Poll #1 Talent Deserving Wider Recognition for Piano.
Recent events for the busy Jackson include the premiere of his new jazz opera "Quebecite", with librettist George Elliot Clarke at the 2003 Guelph Jazz Festival. A three-act, multi-cultural romance set in modern-day Quebec, Quebecite is greatly inspired by the memoirs of D.D. Jackson's parents and features vocalist Haydain Neale from the pop group JackSoul, East Indian singer Kiran Ahluwalia, experimental jazz vocalist Yoon Choi, and blues, hard rock and avant-garde jazz singer Dean Bowman, along with the D.D. Jackson Trio augmented by Peggy Lee, cello and Brad Turner, trumpet. Plans are now underway for a filmed television version of the opera.
Other recent appearances as leader for Jackson include solo piano concerts across Japan and in Berlin, Tel Aviv, Prague, Chicago, San Francisco, Italy and the JVC Jazz Fest in Toronto in a double bill with pianist Brad Mehldau; trio performances in Guimaraes, Portugal; performance in the Yukon Territory and with Hamiet Bluiett at Jazz at Lincoln Center; and D.D. Jackson Group appearances at the Newport Jazz Festival, the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival in Saratoga, and at New York's Iridium. Jackson's recording of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in its original jazz band version with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra was also recently released on Summit Records. His performances have also frequently aired on such programs as BET Jazz T.V., National Public Radio’s JazzSet with Brandford Marsalis, Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, and in Canada on CBC radio's Jazz Beat and CBC television's Jazz Cafe, TV Ontario’s Studio 2, and Bravo television.
As an educator, Jackson has given numerous workshops and master classes around the world and writes a regular column for Down Beat entitled "Living Jazz." Jackson is also an accomplished classical pianist, and recently Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra in a Summit Records release entitled "American Jazz Concertos" (2003).
As a sideman, Jackson has performed and recorded with some of the most important names in cutting edge jazz including James Carter, Jane Bunnett, Billy Bang, Chico Freeman, Carlos Ward and Dewey Redman. He has toured several continents as a regular member of the David Murray Big Band, Octet, Quartet, and the David Murray/D.D. Jackson Duo, and has appeared on three David Murray albums including the acclaimed “Octet Plays ‘Trane”. For the past several years, Jackson has also participated in the development of a Broadway-bound stage musical involving Murray, blues great Taj Mahal, Grateful Dead member Bob Weir, and director Avery Brooks on the life of Negro baseball league pitcher Satchel Paige. Jackson has also traveled to Senegal, West Africa, where he participated in Mor Thiam's debut CD for Justin Time Records “Back to Africa” featuring some of the greatest names in Senegalese pop music and drumming, and was asked to take the place of Don Pullen in his last and perhaps greatest project: a collaboration between Pullen's African-Brazilian Connection, the Chief Cliff Singers (a Native American singing and drumming group), and the Garth Fagan Dance Company.
Jackson received his Bachelor of Music with High Distinction in Classical Piano from Indiana University in 1989, and his Master of Music in Jazz from the Manhattan School of Music in 1991. He is also an avid Internet fan and maintains his own, detailed website at ddjackson.com