Robert "A. J." Jackson

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Bio submitted by Robert "A.J." Jackson

AJ JacksonRobert "A.J." Jackson grew up hearing his dad play tunes on the piano from the W.W.I era, tin pan alley through the '40s, 50s and 60s. After his first lesson in seventh grade on trombone, he waited for pop to get home from work that evening. His father promptly went to the piano and AJ  tried to pick out the melodies by ear.
He was active in all music activities through high school and played gigs around Schenectady, N.Y., his hometown and Albany. Thanks to his dad, he knew alot of tunes the older cats were playing. He moved to New York City in 1975 and freelanced with Al Haig, Warren Vache, Nick Brignola, Thad Jones, Doc Cheatham, Matrix, the Miller and Dorsey bands among others. In 1977-78 he traveled as a staff musician with Ringling Brothers Circus.In 1979- 80 he freelanced around Reno playing the casino relief bands. Finding the Reno club scene on the wane, he worked in transportation for the next six years playing only occasionally.

Upon arriving in the bay area in '86 he formed his own group playing most notably at the Jazz Workshop in San Francisco with Graham Bruce and Mike Morris. The next few years he played with various dixieland bands; Magnolia Jazz Band, Custer'sLast Band with Jan Sutherland, Mike Vax, Rex Allen and Jack Martin's jazz band. From 1998 through 2001, he quit playing again due to major health problems and surgery. Upon his return to music, he switched to the trumpet, his favorite horn.
 
AJ relocated to Fresno in 1999 and has been playing with his own group, "American Heritage" as well as other bands; most notably, Paul Kasperian's "Sunnysiders" for the past two years. It has been his pleasure to have the likes of Randy Morris, Corey Dobbins, Nye Morton, Bill Schwimmer, Pete Scafedi, Don Oliver, Gene Doi, Rich Severson, Vince Moats, Dick Douty and Ron Catalano on the band. His main influences are Fats Navarro, Lee Morgan, Dizzy and Miles. Other favorites include Booker Ervin, Bud Powell, Jack Teagarden and Charlie Parker. His approach is “straight ahead.”He is proud to do his small part in keeping a great tradition, jazz, before today's audiences.It is our music, our American Heritage.

Robert “A.J” Jackson
“American Heritage”
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