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Mstrkrft

 

Finding Serenity In Queens: The D.D. Jackson Interview

D.D. Jackson talks about his new CD Serenty Song, living in NewYork and the soundtrack to Grease.

By Jim Dupuis

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D.D. Jacksons new CD is called Serenity Song
D.D. Jacksons new CD is called Serenity Song
Pianist D.D. Jackson is as comfortable swinging before a live audience as he is composing an opera based on the life of a former Canadian prime minister.  He grew up in Ottawa and has since moved on to The Big Apple.  He is settling down to domestic bliss after touring around the world and taking some serious apprenticeships with the likes of Jackie Byard, David Murray and Don Pullen.  As a band leader he often writes tunes which showcase the abilities of his band mates.  In his spare time he writes a column for the music publication Downbeat and his articles have also appeared in the Village Voice. Let's see: he writes and performs classical music and jazz, conducts, arranges and composes scores for operas, writes articles for periodicals and was probably one of the first musicians to set up his own website and have a site that actually had some substance to it.  His CV includes nominations for Composer of the Year, Album of the Year, International Musician of the Year, Musician of the Year, and Pianist of the Year in the 2004 National Jazz Awards in Canada. He previously was named the 2002 National Jazz Awards Socan Composer/Songwriter of the Year, the 2000 and 1996 Jazz Report Composer of the Year, and won the 2000 Juno Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album (his CD's have been nominated six times). Jackson was also previously named the Downbeat Critics Poll #1 Talent Deserving Wider Recognition for Piano.  I caught up to this busy, but very happy man at his 'serene' home in New York.

 

JD: Today I am speaking with D.D. Jackson, who, I believe, is in Queens, N.Y.  Is that correct D.D.?

DD: Yes, I like to call it New York City because it sounds hipper.  But it is technically part of New York for sure.

JD: Let’s start off with asking you a few things about your background.  When did you first start taking music lessons?

DD: I started playing music of various sorts when I was about two or three, but I guess you could say I started taking formal lessons when I was about six years old or so.

JD: Were either of your parents musicians?

DD: No, my mother was actually very musically inclined, and my father, I still don’t know if technically he is tone deaf, because I’ve never heard him actually try to sing, but certainly he has always been a big fan of music. My mother would play piano, once we got the piano, around the house and she would sing to us.  Both of my parents would play classical music to me, when we were falling asleep when we were toddlers.  So, all of that had a great influence on me.  We also actually played recorder, together, because it was a very good instrument to get started on as a family.

JD: It seems that a lot of people got started with the recorder.  I talked to Bill Runge, the sax and bass player out of Vancouver, and he said that it was the way that he got started, too, on the recorder.

DD: Ya, ya.  I wonder some time about technology and how that’s going to affect things.  I actually have my first baby on the way in a couple of months--

JD: Congratulations.

DD: Thank you.  I’m sort of obsessing over these electronically oriented musical devices and wondering if about the same sort of exposure that I had which really forced me to be visceral with the instrument and try things out, if that’s really become changed by these heightened primary coloured push button devices where everything seems to be done for you.  It will be interesting to see how that works out.

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