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 36-year-old Jackson was recently named the 2002 National Jazz Awards Socan Composer/Songwriter of the Year. His work has been nominated for 5 Juno Awards and he won the 2000 Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. Jackson was also named the 2000 Downbeat Critics Poll #1 Talent Deserving Wider Recognition for Piano and the 2000 Jazz Report Composer of the Year.

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 CBC radio's Jazz Beat and CBC television's Jazz Cafe, TV Ontario’s Studio 2, and Bravo television, and in the States on BET JAZZ, National Public Radio’s JazzSet with Brandford Marsalis, and Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz.

Jackson is a commissioned composer. He collaborated with storyteller David Gonzalez on the Broadway show “Mytholojazz" (the New York Times praised him for his “sophisticated, propulsive jazz” and deemed him “one hell of a jazz pianist”) before bringing the show on the road to performance venues throughout the U.S. and Canada. On July 1, 2000, Jackson premiered “New York Suite”, a major 80-minute large-scale work for jazz/classical ensemble, at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Bandshell featuring such NY luminaries as drummer Ralph Peterson, trumpeter Jack Walrath, saxophonist James Spaulding, percussionist Bobby Sanabria, and violinist Marlene Rice. Jackson is additionally working on a new jazz opera with librettist and Governor General literary award recipient George Elliot Clarke to be premiered Sept./03 at the Guelph Jazz Festival.

Jackson is also a published writer: the September/2001 of Downbeat features an article he wrote on his major label experience and he writes a regular column for the same magazine entitled “Living Jazz”.

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.