Sunday, October 20, 2013

R.I.P. Ronald Shannon Jackson

Albert Ayler, Charles Tyler, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, James Blood Ulmer, and again with Ulmer in The Music Revelation Ensemble, Last Exit with Peter Brötzmann, Sonny Sharrock and Bill Laswell, Power Tools with Bill Frisell and Melvin Gibbs, John Zorn, and not least his very own The Decoding Society.

That's some resumé. And those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head, just after the incredibly sad news of Ronald Shannon Jackson's passing ticked in via Vernon Reid on Twitter last night. Reid was a follower, fan and friend of Jackson, and played with him in The Decoding Society. I think it's fair to say that some of that experience seeped into Reid's music with Living Color, too, which indicates that Ronald Shannon Jackson's legacy is not solely tied to the realm of the avant jazz/rock/harmolodic funk/noise amalgam that he had helped shape ever since he supported Albert Ayler's spiritual cries some time in the mid '60s.

Jackson's playing was both joyous and ferocious, mirrored in his music as well as that of his collaborators: from Coleman's harmolodic masterpiece Dancing In Your Head to Last Exit's violent and confrontational skronk. His discography contains many highlights: Albert Ayler Quintet's Live at Slug's Saloon, recorded in 1966 and released on various labels over the years, Ornette Coleman's aforementioned Dancing In Your Head (Horizon/A&M Records, 1977), Cecil Tayor's Cecil Taylor Unit (New World Records, 1978) and 3 Phasis (New World Records, 1979), James Blood Ulmer's Are You Glad to Be InAmerica (Rough Trade, 1980), Music Revelation Ensemble's No Wave (Moers Music, 1980), Eye On You (About Time, 1980), Nasty (Moers, 1981), Man Dance (Antilles, 1982) and Decode Yourself (Island, 1985) with his The Decoding Society, Last Exit's self titled debut (Enemy, 1986), John Zorn's Spillane (Elektra Nonesuch, 1987), Power Tools' Strange Meeting (Antilles, 1987). And yet we've only scratched the surface.

Below are a few videos of Jackson with various collaborators, most of the uploaded to an account attributed to Ronald Shannon Jackson (whether the account was genuinely his or merely set up in his honor, I do not know).

 Ornette Coleman & Prime Time

Ronald Shannon Jackson & The Decoding Society

Power Tools (Ronald Shannon Jackson, Bill Frisell & Melvin Gibbs)

Last Exit

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...