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 two-time 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 recently completed a week at New York's historic Village Vanguard). 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 has also been successfully composing music for television, film and other media for the past several years, in 2019 receiving his second Emmy Award, for Outstanding Original Song (with lyricist Billy Aronson), and his first Emmy in 2016 for Outstanding Music Direction and Composition, among his 5 total Emmy nominations (all for his writing on the PBS show “Peg + Cat” ). He has also written regularly for both "The Wonder Pets" (Nickelodeon) (which won 4 consecutive Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Musical Direction and Composition), Esme & Roy (HBO/Sesame Workshop), and several other shows, and has done numerous commissions, most recently for The Ahn Trio and The Metropolis Ensemble. He is also doing increasing work for film, with the romantic comedy feature "You & Me" (for which Jackson wrote the score and collaborated on the songs with lyricist/director/co-writer Alexander Baack), recently winning the 2018 Cinequest Film Festival Audience Award for best comedy feature. 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 is currently on faculty at Brooklyn College where he directs the Global Jazz Masters program, and also teaches Media Scoring in their Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema. He previously taught part-time at Hunter College for over 9 years, ultimately receiving the Hunter College Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching. Previously, Jackson was also Chair of Jazz and Contemporary Studies at the Harlem School of the Arts (where his past students included 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 12-year old son Jarrett and 10-year old daughter Aria. His website is: ddjackson.com