D.D. Jackson

I am a two-time Emmy Award-winning composer, and Juno Award-winning jazz pianist and educator. As a composer, I specialize in writing, arranging, and producing memorable, custom-made music for t.v., film & other media. I consider myself an "artistic problem solver": I strive to get to the essential conceptual truth of what the client is looking for - and to express it in a creative and supportive way. [READ MORE] or [BIO]

Thoughts on James Carter

Just returned from a two-day brief gig as sideman with the James Carter Quartet - I was a last minute sub for regular group pianist Craig Taborn, who was called away to work on a Roscoe Mitchell album. I've worked with James before, first at the summer, '96 Montreal International Jazz Festival where I opened for him and then later sat in with his band in a concert taped for Bravo television, and secondly when I invited him to appear on Paired Down, Vol. I (he plays on two tracks). But this was the first extended time I had to "hang" with him and really see him "in action". I had until this time certainly been captivated by his sheer technical mastery of the many reeds which he plays; he has a breathtaking facility that has no parallel. But I was curious to see how this gelled into the "conceptual whole". What I saw was a deeply motivated man, wildly wide-open in his listening, with huge musical ears and an almost cosmic command of his instruments. There was a point towards the end of our second set in Buffalo where this all came together in my mind - I believe it was when he ended an already highly varied and, in fact, "rip-roaring" ballad solo with some ascending, three-note chords, with each chord stated clearly and precisely, using some multiphonic technique that probably didn't even exist until he played it. And he "brushed this off" with an effortless that was truly chilling. It was then that I began to see that far from being a simple "audience-engagement technique", these sax explorations and extended cadenzas and introductions seemed to come out of an honest desire to push boundaries; to certainly use more accessible, often swing-oriented tunes as the basis for his explorations, but to treat them with an almost Coltrane-like, "free jazz blowing" intensity. To "sum up": I definitely "dig" this James Carter, and look forward to working with him again soon....