D.D. Jackson

I am an Emmy Award-winning composer and Juno Award-winning jazz pianist who specializes 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.

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Yukon adventure

Just got back from an unbelievable experience in Whitehorse, Yukon. I was appearing as half of a duo with storyteller/poet David Gonzalez in a presentation of our "Mytholojazz" (which basically retells the Orpheus myth in a manner designed to appeal to older children-to-adults, through David's words, singing, gestures, movement, and my jazz-oriented original music). Until now, my image of the Yukon had been colored by the same sort of stereotypes much the world probably has of New York (crime-ridden, gritty, rude). In my case, I had in mind a barren place, cold and remote; a place so cut off from the world as to presumably have little appeal; virtually uninhabitable. But almost from the moment of my arrival, I was drawn in by the sheer beauty of the place and its people. Whitehorse is remote, and in many ways is one of the last possible outposts; the literal edge of civilization. But I think this fact is what also gives it such an intoxicating allure to such a wide cross-section of people the world over. There's something very cleansing about being in such a pure, unfiltered environment; at one with nature, mountains, sky (and even the occasional grizzly!) I found myself marvelling at how quickly one is forced inward in such an environment; how rapidly the fast pace of NY (where one is often tempted to be "on", 24 hours a day, one's mind in a perpetual state of "distraction) gives way to a coming-to-terms with oneself. One of our hosts, Chris Dray, the director of the Yukon Arts Centre and a fascinating man in his own right, made the point clear by stating that it was a common occurrence that those who cared to stay in Whitehorse more than 6 days often found themselves staying for years; it takes that small amount of time to be drawn in by the north's charms, and I don't doubt it.

The people were a diverse lot - some came from Toronto, or Vancouver; one woman was even a dancer originally from New York who got "hooked" and never left. But what joined them all, I think, was the sense of inner peace they had discovered up north; the thrill of living in harmony with nature instead of fighting it. They all described to me long, hard winters, with literally 5 hours of daylight (and a ritualistic celebration each year on the Winter Solstice called "Longest Night" in which the community joins together for an endless evening of stories and music); followed eventually by the warmer season, in which it is not atypical for sunset to occur at 12 midnight (while we were there, it was getting dark around 10:30 pm, which was already in and of itself bizarre). They described the appeal of the small town with it's evocation of times gone by in the outside world, and where everyone knows everyone elses' name. And several of them expressed their determination to leave, seemingly wondering how they got there in the first place, but also secretly knowing that if they left, they would never find any other place quite like this again (which is why so many people leave for a time, only to later return)....
And what a genuinely appreciative crowd! What a pleasure to bring our own creation to such a far away place and have it be received to warmly....I will not soon forget my few days up North, and I will try very hard to take a piece of that experience with me, even as I return to the hectic pace of my everyday life here in the "big city"...