Milt Jackson

From Academic Kids

Milton (Milt) Jackson (January 1, 1923October 9, 1999) was an American jazz vibraphonist and one of the most important figures in the hard bop style. A very expressive player, Jackson differentiated himself from other vibraphonists in his attention to variations of dynamics and rhythm. He was particularly fond of the 12-bar blues at slow tempos. He preferred to set the vibraphone's oscillator to a low 3.3 revolutions per second (as opposed to Lionel Hampton's speed of 10 revolutions per second) for a more subtle vibrato. Jackson was also a capable pianist, and sometimes performed professionally on that instrument.

He was discovered by Dizzy Gillespie, who hired him for his sextet in 1946. He quickly acquired experience working with the most important figures in jazz of the era, including John Coltrane, Woody Herman, Howard McGhee, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker. In the Gillespie big band one of his jobs was to play in a quartet with John Lewis, Percy Heath, and Kenny Clarke while the horn section took a break from the demanding high-register horn parts. This group became the Modern Jazz Quartet, which had a long independent career of 20 years until disbanding in 1974 over financial problems. Jackson then toured alone, performing in various small combos.

His composition "Bags' Groove" ("Bags" was his nickname) is a jazz standard. He has been featured on the NPR radio program Jazz Profiles.

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