Ron Jackson
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Ron Jackson


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"Ron Jackson “Flubby Dubby”"

Ron Jackson is one of the most versatile and well-traveled guitarists in New York City. With performances in over twenty countries, and collaborations with artists such as Taj Mahal, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Cissy Houston, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Benny Golson and Les Paul, Jackson earned his stripes long ago. He studied Jazz Composition and Arranging at The Berklee School of Music, and is now himself an instructor at several schools throughout the greater Metropolitan New York region. Jackson has also performed in the orchestra of such Broadway/off Broadway shows as Rent, Avenue Q, Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk and Saturday Night Fever. Jackson’s album, Flubby Dubby, produced by the legendary Melvin Sparks, shows off his signature soul/funk style of jazz guitar, refreshing in its energy and classic in its sound.

Flubby Dubby opens with “One For Melvin,” featuring stylishly laid back guitar work, and Hammond Organ work that’s absolutely over the top. The free-form style here is hot and highly entertaining, evoking a 1960's Vegas chic. The energy here is fantastic. “The Look Of You” is frenetic and upbeat; one of those recordings that conveys the pure joy the musicians must have felt as they laid it down the first time. Jackson’s arrangement of Paul McCartney’s “The Long And Winding Road” uses the classic melody as a starting point, but quickly breaks into free-form improvisation. This is definitely a jazz take, but manages to keep McCartney’s distinctive melodicism intact even when spinning yarns grown far from the original melody line.

“Flubby Dubby” is a nearly eight-minute epic full of vibrant energy. Jackson pulls in the occasional Hendrix-inspired fugue, ala “Purple Haze”, which isn’t as perplexing as it might, at first, sound. ”Love Ballad” is a subtle turn that features some of Jackson’s best guitar work on the album, and the NPG-style horn section is a nice touch as well. Jackson’s take on Frank Perkins’ “Stars Fell On Alabama” features a sweet, lyric guitar style that speaks distinctly of the decade the song was born (1930's). Organist Kyle Koehler gets a chance to show off here, sounding like he’s taking stylistic cues from Ray Charles and Miles Davis simultaneously. “Technophile” has a frantic feel, with synth/organ set to a complex house beat. It’s a tremendous listen that challenges the listener to keep up, and is a nice change of pace. “A Calypso Party” is a winsome little tune you’ll have a hard time not dancing along with. Flubby Dubby closes with “Get In The Country”, a dynamic free-form improv piece with serious hints of funk in the bass line. Jackson and Koehler exchange blistering solos that are very much worth sticking around for.

Most people can name the big names in jazz, just as in pop, rock, blues, country or other genres. Somewhere between those elite names and the scores of working musicians haunting jazz clubs all across the country are guys like Ron Jackson. Well known in the right circles, Ron Jackson is quietly one of the best jazz guitarists in music. Ask any big name musician who has taken part in the New York Jazz scene, and they will know exactly who Ron Jackson is. Its artists such as Jackson who help define the artistic brilliance of big names as session men and live support. But often such artists have as much talent (and sometimes more) than the folks they support. Jackson is known, but his name recognition is not requisite with his talent level. Flubby Dubby displays Jackson’s talent in inarguable terms, as a composer, arranger and performer. This is an album that’s difficult to put down.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5) - Wildy Haskell, Review You

"Review, "Burning Gums" featuring Ron Jackson"

A stylistic tour de force, this self-titled trio effort manages to take in many of jazz music’s most notable influences, even tosses in a dash of Pacific island flavor, but it never falls into the rote imitative traps of so many of today’s more traditionalist recordings.

That’s a credit to executive producer Ron Jackson, a guitarist of mature yet inventive dexterity.

“Samba de Oueijo” finds Jackson leading the threesome through an echoing, atmospheric journey across a humid nightscape. His guitar work recalls, by turns, Pat Metheny’s sleek modernity and Wes Montgomery’s riffy elation. Meanwhile, bassist Norbert Marius is a propulsive counterpoint, moving with cat-like quickness underneath Jackson’s impressive runs. Neither manages to catch drummer Matsuura Hiroyuki, however. He is always a cymbal-tap ahead of them. Together, they create an album-opening statement of purpose.

The following “Excerpt of Tina III” takes a more considered turn, dropping the undulating rhythms. But Jackson, a New York-based recording artist and instructor, stays firmly rooted in a clean, percussive groove. He’s just as adept at playing these fleet swinging turns as he was with a lyrical samba. Marius’ bass solo is deeply expressive, but never showy.

Fasten the seat belt, and place your tray in the upright position, though. For all of the reserved classicism of “Except,” Burning Gums then proceeds to turn “Killer Joe” — Benny Golson’s soul-jazz classic — into a greasy R&B number. Jackson and Marius dive into a deep-fried series of riffs, with Jackson taking over the familiar horn signature, even as Hiroyuki works the sizzling edges. Playing over clips that sound like they come from news broadcasts, a police scanner, or maybe a NASA transmission, the trio proceeds to transform into a bouncing, nasty little funk group. This ends up being more soul than jazz, and to thrilling effect.

“Sacred Love,” alas, is a more conventional jazz trio number — a pretty ballad, but not much more. It’s not long, however, before Burning Gums has ramped up into “Going Bush,” which features a lilting, sun-splashed island beat. Marius, who produced Burning Gums, at first takes a backseat on this one to the concise interplay between the elegant and vivid runs by Jackson and these brilliant bursts of syncopation from Hiroyuki. But the bassist then dashes to the front with an impish solo that eventually defines the track. When Jackson returns, it’s at a quickened pace, almost like he’s skipping along — seemingly emboldened by what came before.

“So What,” a signature Miles Davis composition, begins as a dreamy, almost psychedelic exploration into the far reaches of imagination. Jackson’s tone, warbly and expressive at first, eventually coalesces into a sharply incisive series of improvisations. Meanwhile, Hiroyuki bashes away with an insistence that eventually frames the song’s middle portion. Marius’s solo, quietly effective but never completely at rest, represents the final stop before Jackson returns the song to a mirage-like reverie. “So What” ends as it began, with an undefined expressiveness, not unlike the free-form experiments Davis himself was at work on a decade after he originally cut the song in the late 1950s. This new version wouldn’t be out of place on signature fusion projects like In A Silent Way.

“Mangrove DoReMi” takes Burning Gums further into this contemplative space, adding environmental sounds to an initial free-form structure that allows the trio to explore their instruments with an impressive tone and deftness. Jackson eventually hits a note, and repeats it, then repeats it again and again, sparking a flurry of activity from the others. Their symbiosis is such that the song instantly takes flight.

The subsequent and soulful “Madras Parallel,” though it doesn’t approach the rib-sticking R&B delights of Burning Gums’ remake of “Killer Joe,” underscores again this trio’s ability to blend contrasting styles. They are as funkified as they are swinging as they are influenced by Jackson’s roots in the Philippines. “Park Slope” then concludes Burning Gums on ruminative note, as Jackson constructs concentric circles around a portentous rhythm from Marius and Hiroyuki.

Even at the end, it’s clear that there isn’t much these three can’t do. This self-titled release could have been twice as long, and never gotten old.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5) - Nick DeRiso, Review You


Ron Jackson is well established as an international jazz performer, having performed in over 30 countries in bands and ensembles. He already has three CDs out under his own name. The current CD, The Dream I Had, features a new trio, including Joris Teepe on bass and Joris Dudli on drums.Jackson won the first annual Heritage Guitars International Jazz Guitar Competition in 1996, and many of his recordings have featured prominent sidemen. He has toured the US with other jazz guitarists, and he has played a very active role on the Broadway and studio scene in New York. He performed in pit orchestras of such notable shows as "Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk," "Smokey Joe’s Café," The Life," "Street Corner Symphony," "Rent," "Saturday Night Fever," "Kat and the Kings" and "Fosse." Ron has also written and recorded music for other pop and jazz artists, as well as contributed compositions and recordings to the scores of films "Fly By Night" and "Vulgar."<br><br>The Dream I Had is a wonderful collection of modern jazz guitar playing that provides the listener with a medium of rich, dynamic sound. A cool, funky beat. Flowing from quick rhythms to slow, melodious harmonies, it’s an excellent acoustic backdrop to anyone’s domestic environment. Jackson uses his international music know-how, and combines many flavors to produce this collection of eclectic tunes. - Paul Elliot

"Jazz Journal International"

I recall reviewing two earlier Ron Jackson albums and loking back at my reviews I found them very enjoyable. Jackson then seemed to disappear from the scene but I’ve since found out he’d
been gainfully employed in the orchestra pits of Broadway shows. The money was good but the lure of playing jazz was more tempting. Ron cut this set whilst on tour in Europe with an excellent bassist and drummer. His choice of material mainly stems from his own pen but with two standards from the great American songbook and one each from modern songwriters the balance sits well. For those who may not be familiar with Jackson’s work his playing displays shades of Kessell, Wes and Benson. Nice clean runs coupled with delicate picking. His own material has enough thematic quality to sustain interest enabling the whole album to mesh together as a stylish outing. Teepe and Dudli match the leader’s skill with intuitive subtlety especially on his more personal compositions. A very pleasant set and one for the connoisseurs of guitar jazz
- David Lands

"Cadence Magazine"

Cadence Review

November, 2003 by Bill Donaldson

Even though Ron Jackson has been performing for the most part below the radar screen of the larger listening public (probably for want of a publicist or a major label contract), he hasn't been wanting for work. Performing in the pit orchestras of major Broadway shows, as a sideman on numerous other Jazz musicians' releases or in overseas clinics, Jackson has built an impressive reputation as a guitarist with taste, technical self-assurance and a solid tone that features accessibility without access. Jackson knows his Wes Montgomery; Jackson's extroversion toward his audience while remaining true to the music more than once recalls some of Montgomery's work. While Jackson has performed in his previous CD's with well-known U.S. sideman like Benny Green and Lonnie Plaxico, The Dream I Had was recorded in The Netherlands , and this time Jackson is backed up by Dutch musicians Joris Teepe and Joris Dudli. From the understated way that Jackson builds the melody of To Mr. Evans, to his flowing to his flowing introductory cadenza on Obsession, recalling Kenny Burrell's work in its assuredness and purity of tone, Jackson exhibits a versatility and logic that remain consistent throughout all the tracks on this, his fourth CD. Generously, Jackson allows Teepe to shine on the introductions to Too High and Obession or eloquently in the bridge of Jackson's composition, You, while Dudli adds subdued colors that embellish the soloists' leads. Accenting melody with warm voicings, Jackson shines most brightly on the ballads he wrote such as Waltz for Nicki. Beginning unaccompanied and rhythmless and becoming ever more animated when the bass and drums join in, the tune eventually reveals itself as the development of one long crescendo. - Bill Donaldson

"Vintage Guitar Magazine"

Vintage Guitar Review

January 2004 by JH

Ron Jackson is a New York jazz guitarist who can do it all. He plays in the traditional vein,bringing folks like Wes,Kenny Burrell,and George Benson to mind. His phrasing is always interesting without falling back on cliches from the aforementioned players.

Another thing I like about this record is the compositions. While there are a few standards, Jackson wrote five of the songs here, and they all are interesting.

The title cut has an extremely dramatic intro that will catch your attention immediately. And, by the time Ron has started his very fiery and imaginative solo, the chords, single-lines, and octaves are bouncing off the wall. The feel of the tune changes completely in the middle, but Jackson and the band move smoothly with it. A very impressive start.

The old warhorse, "Isn't It Romantic?" gets nice treatment. The melody gets stated, and then Ron plays wonderfully with it. Check out the interplay between Jackson and drummer Joris Dudli on this one. "The Race" is exactly what the title says. I mean that in a good way. The breakneckspeed and intensity of the soloing keep you on the edge of your seat.

The nice lightly swinging ballad "Waltz For Nicki" gives you the idea again of both his compositional skills and his fine chops. Most of the album has a very traditional jazz feel, but by the time we get to the last cut-a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Too High"- we get a nice glimpse at Jackson's R&B chops. It's done as a funky burner that really cooks.

If you have any interest in tradional jazz, check this out. -JH
- JH

"Sunday Times"

"...virtuoso technique and mellow tone that Jackson coaxed from his instrument." Sunday Times Perth, Australia

- Perth Australia

"The Jazz Spectrum on WDBM-FM, Lansing, MI"

Ron's newest CD is filled with anecdotes and ideas that will keep any jazz fan happy. His thoughtful approach to melody and his distinct guitar tone set him apart from the average six-stringers. Every time Ron plays a line on his Heritage Sweet 16, he seems to throw back to the greats of yesterday - Wes, Pass, etc. However, one can tell that Ron isn't inspired by jazz alone - his phrasing brings a very fresh and funky feel that lets the listener know he's a well-rounded music listener.

I think Ron is one of the players to keep an eye on in years to come - his genius arrangements, precise playing and pure emotion make him a delight to groove to.

- "Sweet" Sam Walton - The Jazz Spectrum on WDBM-FM, Lansing, MI
- "Sweet" Sam Walton

"WCPN Cleveland, Ohio"

“Warm and engaging; technically superior”. Dee Perry WCPN Cleveland, Ohio

- Dee Perry


"Ron Jackson makes a strong debut...he's no boring genuflection of the past." - Bob Young

"Just Jazz Guitar"

;...he opens with 'Shadow of Your Smile' with a chord melody approach and we know we are in for a treat...he has a very mature approach and his tasteful harmonies set the stage...We hear great octave playing (thumb) and exciting double stops, long clean lines and bursts of syncopated riffs by Ron. George Benson, Wes and Barney Kessel sneak in, but we really hear Ron Jackson, a relative newcomer to the jazz guitar, who is going somewhere with a jump start." - Frank Forte

" Dion Parson and Ron Blake"

Welcome Home is a mid tempo piece....,Guitarist, Ron Jackson delivers an appealing solo mid way through the piece that offers a gentleness and intricacy that invites the listener to engage in this piece.Review of Saxist Ron Blake and Drummer Dion Parson's CD 21st Century. - Randy McElligott


"A Guitar Thing" "Thinking of You", Muse Records
"Song For Luis", Duo with Rufus Reid, Mastermix Records
"Concrete Jungle", co-led with bassist Nicki Parrott, on Airmen Records.
"The Dream I Had" , Roni Music
"Flubby Dubby", Roni Music
"Burning Gums" Roni Music



“Burning Gums is Jazz that Burns and Spreads”

Representing three continents, Burning Gums is a fresh new color on the seemingly endless palette of jazz guitar bands. The trio's debut album contains nine exciting tracks showcasing high caliber musicianship expertly navigating between the many styles of music from samba to swing. Interesting compositions and unusual arrangements of classics like So What and Killer Joe will keep listeners pleasantly alert. Norbert Marius’ smooth bass grooves provide solid foundation for guitarist Ron Jackson’s sophisticated improvisations, which are expertly matched by Matsu Hiroyuki’s energetic drumming, all creating the very special sound of Burning Gums. A sound that will make its mark! A true jam.

The Burning Gums is Ron Jackson-Guitar (USA)Norbert Marius-Bass(Hungary) Hiroyuki Matsuura-Drums and Percussion.(Japan)

Ron Jackson is a New York based jazz guitarist, composer, arranger, producer, recording artist, and instructor. He has performed and recorded in over 20 countries as a bandleader and ensemble performer, and is well established in the international jazz scene. Ron has recorded and performed with jazz, blues and World music, greats such as, Taj Majal, Little Anthony and The Imperials, James Spaulding, The Boys Choir of Harlem, The Metro Mass Choir, Mor Thaims Drums of Fire, Irene Reid, Hal Singer, TK Blue, Sarah Dash, Gene Anthony Ray, Cecil Brooks III, TAO, Melvin Rhyne, Jimmy McGriff, 5 Guitars Play Mingus

Norbert Marius began playing upright and electric bass at the age of 14. He studied at the Bartok Bela Jazz Conservatory in Budapest, the Cologne Music Institute, earned numerous scholarships before graduating from Berklee College of Music in 1987.
Since moving to New York City in 1988, Mr. Marius has performed with the Fifth Dimension, Melba Moore, Screaming Headless Torsos, and many others. He has toured the US, Europe and Japan. Besides being a bassist, Norbert is an active composer, and producer of dozens of instrumental and vocal tracks.

Hiroyuki Matsuura has performed and/or recorded with Grammy winning bassist, Hector "Maximo" Rodriguez (Spanish Harlem Orchestra); Grammy winner, Oriente Lopez; multi-platinum producer/musician, Vernon Jeffrey Smith (Whitney Houston, Paula Abdul, Heather Headley, Des’ree, The Family Stand); Grammy nominated R&B/jazz pianist, Marc Cary

Band Members