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Take Five With Ali Jackson Jr.

AAJ Staff By
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Meet Ali Jackson Jr.: Ali Jackson Jr. is best known for his association with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. You can find Ali performing with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, his Ali Jackson Quartet, or the phenom ensemble Horns in the Hood.

Ali has performed and recorded extensively with some of the world's finest musicians including Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aretha Franklin, George Benson, Harry Connick, Jr., KRS 1, Marcus Roberts, Joshua Redman, and the New York City Ballet. He's featured on the Wynton Marsalis Quartet debut Blue Note recording The Magic Hour and his recent album with Willie Nelson Two Men With The Blues.

Ali serves as the voice of Duck Ellington, a character in the Penguin book series Baby Loves Jazz and may also be heard in Apple's iPod ad campaigns.

Having graduated from the New School University for Contemporary Music, Jackson further enriched his knowledge with private study with master teachers Elvin Jones and Max Roach. Ali has been part of Young Audiences, a program that educates New York City youth about jazz, and has hosted Jammin' with Jackson, a series for young musicians at JALC Dizzy Club Coca Cola.





Instrument(s): Drums.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... Since I can remember. I remember being at least 2 years of age playing on pots and pans on the kitchen floor. I have always been around music, even before I was born. My parents were both musicians. When I was 8 years old I knew I was going to be a musician. It was natural for me to play music.

Your sound and approach to music: My drumming/ drum set conception and style encompasses the entire history of my instrument. From Baby Dodds, early military marches/ drum and bugle corp to Billy Hart, Jeff "Tain" Watts and Lewis Nash. My approach to music revolves around the blues .

Road story: Your best or worst experience: Traveling with Jazz @ Lincoln Center Orchestra. We traveled about 16 hours on a day off only to arrive at the wrong hotel. We were performing a very quiet and sparse arrangement. One member of the JLCO (a trombonist) kept sliding his chair back on a riser while trying to position his instrument on its stand. Well quite naturally you know what happened next, he and instrument made one of the longest, loudest dramatic spills in Jazz history. The trombone and trombonist both fell in opposite directions. What was even more hilarious was everyone trying not to lose it and maintain composure through the piece. (no one was seriously injured physically or emotionally).

Favorite venue: Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Yoshi's (Oakland), The Jazz Standard.

The first Jazz album I bought was: Miles Davis My Funny Valentine, Four and More

Did you know... I love playing basketball. I enjoy cooking! I make a mean Jambalaya!

What is in the near future? I'm thrilled about a new project I've curated: BEATS OF NYC: A JAZZ JOURNEY THROUGH DANCE, RHYTHM, AND RHYME. It's two nights (Jan 22 & 23) dedicated to exploring our musical culture of the city with rappers, poets and dancers backed by jazz percussion. Featuring both premiere works and re—imagined interpretations of jazz classics, Beats of NYC explores rhythm and beats as they affect dance, voice and contemporary music. Guest artists: include modern dancer Hope Boykin of Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, jazz pianist Marc Cary, spoken word artists Latasha N. Nevada Diggs and David Jefferson Jr., jazz guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke, bassist Ben Williams, and tap dancer extraordinaires Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards and Derick K. Grant.

Still touring with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in 2010 and planning to book some concerts with my quartet nationwide in the Spring.


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