D.D. Jackson is Canada's foremost Asian-Canadian jazz musician.
Born in Ottawa, to a Chinese Canadian mother and a African-Canadian
father, Jackson went to the US to study classical music and jazz.
The topic was: Can Jazz be Classical and vice-versa.
It was a wonderful lecture that had the featured speaker sitting at the
piano bench and demonstrating his points on the piano. When sound
problems plagued his microphone, Jackson went to the piano to
demonstrate the most successful crossover of jazz becoming classical
music: George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. The audience was
enthralled by his performance. Indeed, it was the most spirited
version of the piece I have ever seen. Usually I see it performed
as an orchestral warhorse for pops concerts. But tonight, it was
a solo piece with dazzling runs and heartfelt emotions. Inspiring
for both the audience and the performer.
With noted Canadian author George Elliot Clarke, Jackson wrote the jazz
opera “Quebecite.” Jackson has numerous jazz albums and recently
recorded his own version of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. He
played some tunes from his latest cd “Signe” and closed with a lovely
Romanticism inspired song called “Summer” and for an encore he played a
Vladimir Horowitz inspired piece called “Rhythm and ?”
During the cd signings after the lecture, my girlfriend and I had the
pleasure of meeting the organizer of Jackson's Vancouver visit –
Timothy Brook – principal of St. John's College UBC. Mr. Brook is
a professor of Chinese history, and we quickly discovered our
mutual friends such as Jan Walls and Sandra Sachs. A gracious
man, he invited us back to the college for a private reception with
D.D. Jackson. I may help set up some celebrations for St. John's
College for Asian Heritage Month in May.
Check out D.D. Jackson's web page at www.ddjackson.com