Bassist, vocalist, composer, arranger, producer and educator Paul Jackson is known as the “Musician’s Musician”. As a founding member of The Headhunters under Herbie Hancock, Paul’s creative output has shaped a sound that launched a new direction in contemporary music. He is one of the world’s most important and influential electric bassists– and certainly one of the most studied and copied– with generations of bass players around the globe inspired by his signature and infectious grooves.
Born in Oakland, California in 1947, Jackson began playing bass at the age of nine. Considered by many of his teachers to be a musical prodigy, he performed with the Oakland Symphony by the age of fourteen where he expanded his musical interests to include performance levels on bassoon and piano.
His inspirations carried him into study with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The strong teaching foundation led him into teaching seminars for years with institutions such as A.N. Contemporary of Music (Tokyo), Pan School of Music (Tokyo), Musashino School of Music (Tokyo), Berkley School of Music (Boston), University of California Santa Cruz and San Jose State University. Paul has been an adviser for the Osaka School of Music in Japan since 2002.Jackson’s composing has not gone without recognition as well, beginning with Grammy-Award Nominations in 1974, 1975 and 1976 for song-writing the world famous “Chameleon” “Hang Up Your Hang-ups” and “Spider”, respectively. His critically-acclaimed solo albums to date includeBlack Octopus (1979 Toshiba EMI/Platform) (Re-released 2010 Backdoor), Mike Clark & Paul Jackson The Funk Stops Here (1992 Enja), Clark/Jackson/Wagnon Conjunction (2001 Buckyball), Strandberg Project feat. Paul Jackson (2005 Schoots), & Funk On A Stick (2005 Backdoor).
Like other highly talented, creatively motivated engineers of music, Paul has expanded his career to other mediums such as playing on the sound track of Paramount’s “Death wish” and “Dirty Harry”. He was a music director for the touring company of “Don’t Bother, I Can’t Cope”, spent a year and a half with the Radio Free Europe and has appeared with the Oakland Symphony as well as Herbie Hancock on Midnight Special (ABC-TV). Moreover, time out to compose the scores for film and other hefty projects was sandwiched in between Jackson’s constant touring over the years, where he has appeared at numerous jazz festivals such as the De Hagg, Pori, Spain, Montreaux, Newport and Paris. All in all, Paul Jackson is a million mile flyer since his eighteenth birthday.
Since 1985, Paul moved his residence to Japan and continued to be active in many aspects of the Japanese music scene. Live concerts with nation-famous artists such as Char, Tsutomu Yamashita, Sadao Watanabe have been performed in between composing/arranging music for TV commercial films and movies. In 1987, Paul started one of his life-long projects, Jazz for Kids, which is a voluntary concert performed at Japanese schools with an aim to introduce Black American History through music and slide presentation. More than 80 schools across Japan has been visited by Paul and his band, which has been introduced on NHK, the only Japanese governmental TV station. The associated documentary was made by the ministry of Education.
Notable tours from recent times include the long-awaited re-union of the Headhunters, materializing with the release The Return of the Headhunters and Evolution Revolution, which did major touring through the U.S.A. and Europe. The Blue Note tour across Japan with Mike Clark and Jack Walrath from the U.S.A. was a standout occasion, and the tour with Char was a great success, all confirming to Paul’s fans and music critics of his enormous talent as producer, bassist and vocalist.
As of late, Paul has been touring, teaching, producing and collaborating with a number of visionary artists from Asia to the USA, and currently resides in Western Japan. His most recent project, The Paul Jackson trio, featuring the multi-instrumentalist Xantoné Blacq and drummer Tony Match, has been touring to sold out audiences at festivals and top clubs around Asia and Europe developing their new repertoire, and will be recording their debut release for the prolific new London-based imprint Whirlwind Recordings.
Paul Jackson has performed with (a select list) Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Freddie Hubbard, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Tony Williams, Steve Gadd, Harvey Mason, Billy Cobham, Alfonso Mouzon, Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Neil Shawn, George Duke, Al Jarreau, Wayne Shorter, Errol Garner, Chick Corea, Lenny White, Tsutomu Yamashita, Stevie Wonder, John Scofield, Sheira E., Arito, Flora Purim, Buster Williams, Lee Ritenour, Larry Coryell, Jaco Pastorius, The Pointer Sisters, Tower of Power, Shawn Philips, Patty Labell, Terumasa Hino, Larry Graham, Jan Hammer, Jimmy Smith, Stanley Clarke, Stanley Turrentine, Ray Parker, Jr., James Gaddson, Pete Escovedo, David Garibaldi, Takehiro Honda, Char & Takayuki Inoue.
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