[10/1/2003] - "Love and Cross-Cultural Struggles in Quebecite"
The family history of jazz pianist/ composer D.D. Jackson is rich with interracial romance, but not all of it hugs and kisses. "My grandmother threatened to kill herself with a knife if my mother, who was Chinese, married a black man," says the Ottawa-born musician from his New York pad. "But my mother was defiant, and she did marry him." No knives were drawn, but a long period of familial silence ensued. The saga has been dramatized, loosely, for Quebecite, a new jazz-opera composed by Jackson and scripted by G.G. award-winning poet George Elliott Clarke. The other troubled couple chronicled in the Quebec-set opera involves a half-Creole architect and an Indian-born student. "George really wanted to make a statement about inclusiveness in Canada," says Jackson. The ambitious project, a commission for the Guelph jazz fest and now on tour to Vancouver East Cultural Centre this weekend, involves a mostly Canadian, appropriately interracial cast including Jacksoul's Haydain Neale, Yoon Choi, Dean Bowman-the lone American here, of alt-rock act Screaming Headless Torsos-and Kiran Ahluwalia. Jackson leads a smokin' quintet Oct. 17-18 at 1895 Venables, 8 p.m. nightly, 604 872-5200. Relatedly, a panel chat on diversity happens 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 16 at Library Square's Alice MacKay Theatre.
- Tom Zillich, the Westender, Oct/03