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Acclaimed Saxophonist to Lead McLean Institute of Jazz
The Hartt School is pleased to welcome internationally acclaimed tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson as associate professor of jazz and chair of the renowned Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz.
Jackson, whose appointment begins in August, will serve as the educational and administrative leader for the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, and will teach, work with ensembles, assist in recruitment and development efforts, and represent the Institute and The Hartt School both internally and externally.
Hartt Associate Dean Clark Saunders, chair of the search committee, said of Jackson, “It was clear to the search committee that Javon Jackson, with his illustrious career as a jazz performer, prior experience in teaching, and leadership qualities, was exactly what we were looking for in a new chair for the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at The Hartt School.
"He has performed with some of the world’s most notable jazz musicians and at venues around the globe," Saunders said. "He brings phenomenal experience to share with our students that will help prepare them for their own successful careers." In addition to his extensive performance experience, Jackson has recorded numerous CDs and is a highly sought-after jazz educator.
Jackson joins an already renowned faculty at the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz, which includes Steve Davis, trombone; René McLean, saxophone; Eric McPherson, percussion; Shawnn Monteiro, voice; Jeremy Pelt, trumpet; Nat Reeves, bass; and a number of other esteemed artist-educators.
About Javon Jackson
Tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson came into international prominence touring and recording with the legendary drummer Art Blakey as a member of his band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Symbolizing a new generation of musicians that blended tradition with neo-jazz, Jackson went on to release 14 recordings as a band leader, and to tour and record more than 135 CDs with jazz greats including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Richard Davis, Bobby Hutcherson, Curtis Fuller, JoAnne Brackeen, Stanley Turrentine, and Ben E. King.
In 1992, Jackson made his recording debut with Me and Mr. Jones, featuring James Williams, Christian McBride, and master drummer and NEA Jazz Master Elvin Jones. Jackson also recorded six projects for Blue Note Records, including collaborations with Betty Carter, Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Garrett, Jacky Terrason, John Medeski, and Vernon Reid. Among his later recordings for Palmetto Records, Jackson explored funk-based jazz, incorporating the sounds of Fred Wesley, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lenny White, Mark Whitfield, and others. Jackson's current musical group, The Javon Jackson Band, blends many styles, ranging from jazz and funk to R&B and rock.
In 2012, Jackson released two self-produced recordings, Lucky 13 and Javon Jackson and WE FOUR, Celebrating John Coltrane. These CDs marked his return to acoustic jazz. On Lucky 13, Jackson covered music by Stevie Wonder, performed newly composed original material, and was joined by a special guest Les McCann for three selections. Javon Jackson and WE FOUR, Celebrating John Coltrane, is a tribute to the iconic saxophonist, composer, and bandleader. The release was highlighted by an appearance by NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Cobb, drummer for both Coltrane and Miles Davis.
In live performances, The Javon Jackson Band is joined by special guest Les McCann, the iconic soul jazz pianist, vocalist, and composer. Known as one of the godfathers of soul jazz, McCann is recognized as a founding force for the genre known as funky jazz, established in the mid-1960s.
In 2010, Jackson was commissioned by the Syracuse International Film Festival to compose a full-length score for the Alfred Hitchcock film The Lodger, a silent movie based on the hunt for Jack the Ripper. The original score had its debut at the festival, performed live by Jackson at the film's screening in October 2010.
In addition to his performance schedule, Jackson is a highly sought-after jazz educator, conducting clinics and lectures at universities throughout the United States and abroad. He served as assistant professor of jazz at Long Island University (NY) from 1996 to 1998, and at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College (NY) from 1999 to 2007.
In 2012, Jackson was the recipient of the prestigious Benny Golson Award from Howard University in Washington, DC, for recognition of legendary excellence in jazz.
Currently, Jackson serves as a Jazz Panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. He also is a member of JEN (Jazz Education Network) and lends support as JENerations Jazz Festival Artist and Clinician Coordinator. Jackson has a Bachelor in Music from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, Mass.) and a Master of Music from the State University of New York College at Purchase.
About the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz
Jackie McLean joined the Hartt faculty in 1968. During his tenure, McLean developed Hartt’s African American Music Department, and in 2000 it was renamed in his honor. The Institute continues Hartt’s tradition of excellence, artistry, and education in jazz through its renowned faculty, master class guest artists, student performance opportunities, and accomplished alumni. Through its distinguished faculty, the Institute trains young musicians to perform at the highest levels of accomplishment in the tradition of the Hard Bop era and beyond. Distinguished graduates include Sue Terry, Jimmy Greene, Abraham Burton, and Eric McPherson.