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Gene Jackson

Jazz musicians all over the world are likely to be aware of drummer Gene Jackson's talent and expressive performances. While Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, and Tony Williams were some of his drumming influences, Jackson has a style that can change in accordance to what genre of music he plays. His ability to range from African to Latin to Cool rhythms have afforded Jackson the opportunity to be recommended by dozens of eminent musicians since his career took off 15 years ago. Jackson was born October 16, 1961 in West Philadelphia, Pa. Though he grew up as an only child, Jackson began to focus on music with the help of his guardian's grandson, Greg McDonald who played the drums. "(Greg) would have rehearsals with a band of excellent musicians, which helped inspire me early on," Jackson said.

In 1979, Jackson, who had the ambition to become a professional drummer as soon as he picked up the sticks, went to Boston to attend the well-renowned Berklee College of Music. In the five years Gene spent at Berklee, he counted among his peers and classmates: Walter Beasley, Branford Marsalis, Mark Whitfield, Monty Croft, Donald Harrison, Cindy Blackman, Terri Lynn Carrington, Billy Kilson, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Marvin Smitty Smith, Cyrus Chestnut, Danilo Perez, Dave Kakowski, Jovan Jackson, to name a few. Jackson also lived in an apartment with saxophonist Branford Marsalis, with whom he had established a good friendship. When Branford moved to New York City, fellow drummer Marvin "Smitty" Smith became Gene's roommate.

Though he has maintained a successful career, Jackson's Berklee ties helped boost his way to becoming a professional when Jeff "Tain" Watts and vocalist Lenora Helm recommended him to guitarist Kevin Eubanks. Jackson recorded and toured with Eubanks while still living in Boston, and then moved to New York 1987 to continue playing with Kevin. "Working with Kevin Eubanks was pivotal in helping my career take off."

By playing with the many musicians, he has acquired the ability to play the skins in multiple styles and genres of music. "I learned early on that adapting to the various musical situations would be essential to my survival," said Jackson. "I found it is musically satisfying for me when I follow where the music takes me as opposed to dictating where the music goes."

His capability to do this is reflected in Jackson's recording and travel career with such artists as: Dianne Reeves, Christian McBride, Hugh Masekela, Cyrus Chestnut, Greg Osby, Terence Blanchard, Andrew Hill, George Coleman, Steve Turre, Chico and Von Freedman, Don Patterson, Elvis Costello, Art Farmer, Mark Ledford, James Williams, Carla Cook, Craig Harris, Dave Kakowski, Conrad Herwig, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Claudio Roditi, Donald Brown, Joe Lovano, Billy Childs, Joe Locke, Craig Handy, Michele Rosewoman, The Scream Headless Torsos , Anthony Cox, Lonnie Plaxico, Steve Slagle , The NDR Big band, to name a few, to the cutting edge post bop swinging of The Herbie Hancock Trio/Quartet , who Jackson says playing with was one of the high points of his career, along with Wayne Shorter and Dave Holland.

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Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Greg Chako - Tokyo...

Mint 400 Records


Power Of Love

Whirlwind Recordings



Criss Cross


This Masquerade

SteepleChase Records



Sonic Images Records



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