Thinking of Oliver Jackson


Oliver Jackson

SKF NOTE: A summer night, driving top down in a convertible with friends on Long Island’s south shore. To my left, the distant sky is lit up and the sound of killer snare drumming is reaching my ears in a stream of sound sometimes soft, sometimes loud. As if a someone with his hand on a stereo volume knob is turning the sound up, down, up, down.

But the killer snare drumming is unmistakably live. There is a band playing somewhere. Let’s go find it.

So my friends and I steer the convertible along strange roads, following the light and sound until we reach a municipal park full of people listening to four musicians in concert. Collectively they are the JPJ Quartet with Budd Johnson on saxophones, Bill Pemberton on bass, Dill Jones on piano, and sitting behind a beautiful four-piece silver sparkle set of Slingerland drums: Oliver Jackson.

I was thinking just this morning of the JPJ Quartet. They impressed me so much — especially Oliver Jackson — that I bought their album recorded live at Montreaux. The good news: what the JPJ Quartet played at Montreaux was what they were playing on Long Island. The bad news: Mr. Jackson’s drum solo on Oliver’s Twist was poorly edited on the album. The full solo, it appears, is restored on the JPJ Quartet’s reissue on the Storyville label.

Thank you, Oliver Jackson.


About Scott K Fish
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