D.D. Jackson at the Bird
dynamic pianist D.D. Jackson visited the Bird of Paradise in
Ann Arbor on the first weekend in December. I was glad to be able to
catch the two sets on Friday the 6th by his trio, which featured Austrian-born
bassist Hans Glawischnig and the great drummer Reggie Nicholson.
The trio was put together just for this tour, but
that was not obvious to any of us in attendance. Nicholson has played
with many great names in modern and avant garde jazz most notably
Don Pullen, who is Jackson's most significant piano mentor. Like
Pullen, Jackson is a very accomplished and percussive player. His playing
has a veritable physicality that most audiences pick up on right away.
This was on display on his very interesting composition, "Jam Band,"
where his keyboard fireworks included bold chords, muscle and swing.
On this tune, Nicholson showed what an expert accompanist he is. His
solo was nothing short of electrifying.
On "David's Tune," dedicated to tenor
great David Murray, Jackson impressed with some brilliant upper keyboard
passages that were crystal clear. He can also be a very gentle player
as on "For Desdemona," which he dedicated to D. Bardin, a
recently deceased jazz photographer. This and other ballads showed his
penchant for the romantic side of the piano literature. This should
have been no surprise since, in a WEMU interview with Michael Jewett
earlier that day, Jackson mentioned Rachmaninov as one of his house
In all, this was a very satisfying performance by
one the rising stars of piano jazz. You can hear him on Sigame,
his most recent CD, on the Justin Time label.
photograph by Lars Bjorn