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Take Five With...

Take Five With Ron Jackson

By Published: May 17, 2009
Road story: Your best or worst experience: I have many road horror stories. Here's a couple. I was playing in Morocco with T.K. Blue years ago. After our tour was over we were on our way to the airport to go home, which was Paris at the time. When I got to the airport I realized that I had left my amp at the hotel.

I was once playing on gig and the drummer was so drunk that he couldn't play and he was falling asleep in the concert.

My best experience was being in an AMEX Commercial few years ago, playing with Bernard Purdie on drums and the late great Earl May on bass. We were treated so well, (like movie stars) that I wanted to be an actor ever since.

Favorite venue:

It's hard to say. From what I remember I like Birdland and Sweet Rhythm for sound. NJPAC Victoria Theater has a great sound crew and treat artists like human beings. I have played everywhere overseas. Recently I played in the Istanbul Jazz Festival, the sound and scenery was wonderful.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why? I really don't have any favorite recordings I'm inspired and influenced by so many, like Wes Montgomery's Incredible Jazz Guitar. I love that record so much because it a timeless representation of jazz guitar at it's highest level.

The first Jazz album I bought was: George Benson, Breezin.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? That I am keeping the jazz guitar tradition alive. There are less and less guitarists really dedicated to this art form. Also there are very few people of color coming up playing jazz guitar.

Did you know...

I was a rock guitarist growing up, that I consider myself a composer first and that I double on electric bass. Also, I am half Filipino.

CDs you are listening to now: I've been listening recently to a lot of pop, rock and R&B music:
Lionel Richie, Coming Home (Def Jam);

Bill Withers, Greatest Hits (Columbia);

The Isley Brothers, Greatest Hits Vol.1 (Epic).

Desert Island picks:

John Coltrane, Blue Train (Blue Note);

Miles Davis, Someday My Prince Will Come (Columbia);

Wes Montgomery, Incredible Jazz Guitar (Riverside);

Bill Withers, Greatest Hits (Columbia);

The Isley Brothers, Greatest Hits Vol.1 (Epic).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? I think the Internet has changed the whole playing field with jazz and music in general. I think it's a volatile time as well as a great time of opportunity for the independent jazz artist. Cyberspace can reach the whole planet. I think that jazz has unfortunately become less popular, especially in the USA. There are less and less venues to play in, and less of an audience as well.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? Education like teen programs like Wachovia Jazz For Teens, that I am involved with, exposure through radio and concerts, and advertising particularly on Internet searches.

What is in the near future? Completing the video portion of my new CD, Flubby Dubby, booking and touring my group, I will be in Spain from May 18-31, 2009 playing in Madrid and Malaga.

Get my new CD, Flubby Dubby out on the radio and press. I currently have a lot original tunes that I am trying to record on various albums in different styles and settings, solo guitar, duo, trio etc.

To really focus on myself as an artist and release new music all the time.

By Day:

My day job is practicing, composing, promoting and running the Ron Jackson empire.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Rock musician or a plumber.

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