After receiving his B.Music with High Distinction in Classical Piano from Indiana University, and his Masters in Jazz from the Manhattan School of Music, the Emmy-winning composer D.D. Jackson began his career as a jazz pianist/composer, and went on to record, perform, and tour around the world with some of the most acclaimed names in jazz and beyond, including drummer Jack Dejohnette, and saxophonists James Carter and David Murray (with whom he just completed a week at the Village Vanguard in May/17). He also has collaborated frequently with Questlove and "The Roots”, most recently appearing with them on piano at the theater of Madison Square Garden for the John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert, at Radio City Music Hall (for which he also wrote 30-piece orchestral arrangements), and as an arranger/producer/pianist on their last 2 CD’s.
Jackson has also recorded 12 jazz CD's as leader or co-leader (including 2 for the major label BMG) featuring his original compositions, ranging from his Juno Award-winning solo piano CD “...so far”, to his larger-scale meditation on the events of 9/11 entitled “Suite for New York”; and two operas, including "Quebecite”[pronounced “KAY-beh-SEE-tay”] (based in part on his African-American father and Chinese mother), and “Trudeau: Long March/Shining Path” (about the father of Canada’s current leader, Justin Trudeau), both written with librettist George Elliott Clarke (the recently-appointed "Poet Laureate of Canada").
Jackson in recent years also began composing music for television, film and other media, and last year received his first Emmy Award for composition (for his writing on the PBS show “Peg + Cat”), after 2 previous Emmy nominations as composer, and a 4th nomination this year for "Best Song" with Peg+Cat co-creator Billy Aronson. He has also written regularly for both "The Wonder Pets" (Nickelodeon) (which won 4 consecutive Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Direction and Composition), and several other shows, and has done numerous commissions, most recently for The Ahn Trio and The Metropolis Ensemble. As a writer, Jackson has also penned articles for such publications as the Village Voice and DownBeat magazine (for which he maintained a popular column on his experiences as a jazz musician entitled "Living Jazz”, for 5 years).
As an educator, Jackson has taught part-time at Hunter College for the past 7 years, teaching History of Jazz and directing Popular Music Combos, and was recently awarded the Hunter College 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching (part-time). He was also previously the Chair of Jazz and Contemporary Studies at the Harlem School of the Arts (where his past students include 15-year-old prodigy and Hammond and Yamaha Artist Matthew Whitaker, and recent "The Voice" finalist We' McDonald).
Jackson lives in Maplewood, NJ (just outside of New York City) with his wife Elizabeth, their 10-year old son Jarrett and 8-year old daughter Aria. His website is: ddjackson.com