I somehow missed this bit of news last month, but legendary drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson left us on October 19, 2013 at the age of 73. In addition to his prominence in the free jazz arena, he was known for adding a muscular drive to fusion recordings of the wilder variety. He died of leukemia.
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-11-22
His recordings with his band The Decoding Society (1979-1999) are known for their wide sonic palette and unpredictable changes. In 1986, he joined with Sonny Sharrock, Peter Brötzmann, and Bill Laswell to form Last Exit.
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported:
Fellow musicians and friends said Saturday that Mr. Jackson’s contributions to jazz will not be forgotten.
“It’s seismic,” said Vernon Reid, a former member of the Decoding Society and founder of Living Colour, speaking from a tour stop in Spokane, Wash. “For me, it’s so — it’s the enormity of it, just on an emotional, personal level is so big. ... He is my most important mentor.”
Born in 1940 in Fort Worth, Mr. Jackson had musical roots that ran deep. His father ran the city’s only black-owned record store and jukebox business, and his mother played piano and organ at a Methodist church.
He was reportedly working on material for a new Decoding Society recording at the time of his death.
Filed under: Obituaries
Related artist(s): Ronald Shannon Jackson
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