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This Day in Music – Jan 1, 1923 – The Great Milt Jackson was born!!

Today among all out celebrations of the start of a New Year we also celebrate the birthday of one of my favorites jazz artists vibraphonist Milt Jackson.  (January 1, 1923 – October 9, 1999) From All About Jazz…..we read that Milt Jackson was…..

born Jan. 1, 1923, in Detroit, Jackson’s musical beginnings were in the neighborhood gospel churches as a pianist, guitarist, violinist percussionist and singer. He took up the vibraphone in high school. He moved to New York, played with Earl Hines and in 1945, joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band rhythm section, which also included pianist John Lewis, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Kenny Clarke. He worked with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Miles Davis and in 1951 recorded with Gillespie bandmates Lewis, Clarke and Brown. Inspired by that recording, they reformed asthe Modern Jazz Quartet in 1952 with Percy Heath replacing Ray Brown and Connie Kay taking the drum chair after the departure of Kenny Clarke in 1955. For the following 50 years the sound of Milton “Bags” Jackson’s vibraphone would signature the Modern Jazz Quartet and inspire generations of followers.  Continue Reading

Write’s note: Wait a minute January 1, 1923 – that would also be the birthday of another favorite of mine my mother’s brother John Ashton -“We still miss you Uncle Johnny.. this year it’s gonna’ be the Phillies year!” tells us that…….

Before Milt Jackson, there were only two major vibraphonists: Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo. Jackson soon surpassed both of them in significance and, despite the rise of other players (including Bobby Hutcherson and Gary Burton), still won the popularity polls throughout the decades. Jackson (or “Bags” as he was long called) was at the top of his field for 50 years, playing bop, blues, and ballads with equal skill and sensitivity. Read More 

So let’s kick off our New Year’s Day celebrations with some music from Mr.Jackson AND Gary Burton as we spend “A Night in Tunisia”  You can read more about Milt at his page at NPR. And Happy Birthday,Milt!