What’s Hot With Jazz Guitar: Ron Jackson

by Doc Dosco

This week we feature the fine New York jazz guitarist Ron Jackson.

To say Ron Jackson is well traveled would be an understatement. He has performed and recorded in over 20 countries as a band leader and ensemble performer, and is well established in the international jazz scene. Ron's style of guitar playing and compositions is a blend of jazz, and other American styles such as soul, rhythm and blues, pop that is influenced by his roots of the Philippines. Ron is experienced in many musical idioms and brings it all together in his unique approach to playing jazz guitar.

His releases as a leader are: “A Guitar Thing”and “Thinking of You” for Muse Records, “Song For Luis” – a duo with Rufus Reid on Mastermix Records, “Concrete Jungle” is co-led with bassist Nicki Parrott on Airmen Records. His latest CD “The Dream I Had” is on Roni Music. Ron has a new CD and DVD coming out soon produced by guitar great Melvin Sparks.

Winner of the first annual 1996 Heritage Guitars International Jazz Guitar Competition, his recordings have featured prominent sidemen like pianists Benny Green, Lafayette Harris and Darryl Grant, bassists Lonnie Plaxico and Essiet Essiet and drummers Cecil Brooks III, Dion Parson and Yoron Israel. His working unit has included drummer Marvin “Smitty” Smith and pianist Mulgrew Miller, among others. He also performed, played and recorded with greats such as Jimmy Mcgriff, Sandra Reeves Phillips, Benny Golson, James Spaulding, The Boys Choir of Harlem, Mor Thaim, Irene Reid, Hal Singer, TK Blue, Sarah Dash, Gene Anthony Ray, Cecil Brooks III, Melvin Rhyne, Oliver Lake, Jaki Byard, the Mingus Guitar Tribute Band, Jimmy Cobb, John Hicks, Cissy Houston, Ralph Peterson, Russell Malone, Larry Coryell, Jack Wilkins, Don Braden, Craig Handy, David Krakauer's Klezmer Madness, The Metro Mass Choir, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Bernard Purdie, Hank Jones, Gary Bartz, Ron Blake, Little Anthony and The Imperials, Mulgrew Miller, Winard Harper, Kenny Drew Jr., Olatunji, Randy Weston, Gwen Guthrie, Rufus Reid, Akira Tana and Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers. He has also performed with the Mingus Guitar Tribute Band at Lincoln Center, the Fez and the Iridium jazz clubs in New York City.

Ron has toured the US with fellow guitarists Larry Coryell, Peter Leitch, Jack Wilkins, David Gilmore, Peter Bernstein and Russell Malone; pianists John Hicks and Kenny Drew Jr.; and drummers Winard Harper and Carl Allen. He also toured with the Boys Choir of Harlem; Mor Thaim's “Drums of Fire” and Pucho and The Latin Soul Brothers and David Krakauer's “Klezmer Madness.” As well as being an accomplished jazz guitarist, Ron is also very active on the Broadway and studio scene in

New York, having performed in the pit orchestras of such shows as “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk”,”The Life,” “Rent,” “Saturday Night Fever”, “Kat and the Kings”, “Fosse”,”Harlem Song”, “Imaginary Friends”, and “Avenue Q”.

Ron has also written and recorded music for pop artists, vocalist Gisele Jackson, rock group Umbrella and Japanese vocalist Seako Haguchi and jazz artists Rufus Reid and Hal Singer. His has also contributed his talents to the recordings of scores of such films as “Fly By Night” and “Vulgar.”

Ron's jazz group appears frequently in New York City and has performed at such notable clubs as The Blue Note, Fat Tuesday, Iridium and Birdland. He has also appeared at the New Orleans Heritage and Jazz Festival, The Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival, The North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, the Kiama and Montsalvat festivals in Australia, the Berlin Jazz Festival, and the Grimsby and Edinburgh Festivals in the UK. He has also toured and performed in Spain, Italy, France, Portugal, Austria, Canada, and Japan.

Jackson has been featured in interviews and articles in Just Jazz Guitar Magazine, Downbeat, The Western Australian Jazz Guitar Magazine, and in the books “The Masters of Jazz Guitar” and “The Jazz Guitar.” Ron is an experienced music educator and guitar instructor and is a faculty member at the of The New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Wachovia Jazz For Teens Program, Music Outreach, The Brooklyn Conservatory, St. Albans Congregational Church Music Program and The New York Pops Create A Symphony Program. He has taught and lectured at And the Prins Claus Conservatoire, “New Comes to Groningen” program in Groningen in The Netherlands Duke University, The National Summer Guitar Workshop Jazz Summit, The New School, New York University, at Jazzmobile, as well as in clinics in France, Spain, The United Kingdom, Australia and Portugal.

Ron is also available as a private instructor. Ron endorses Seymour Duncan pickups, Thomastik-Infeld Strings, Heritage Guitars and Aria Guitars. Ron also teaches privately and online.

Ron Jackson's website:


Doc Dosco is a jazz guitarist, composer and audio consultant living in Los Angeles, CA. His website is located at http://www.docdosco.com, where you can find more information on the 'What's Hot with Jazz Guitar' columns, audio clips of Doc's playing, and many additional features. Doc now endorses Peerless Guitars and has the website Jazz Guitar Zone to help promote Peerless jazz guitars in the US. He also endorses the new Pignose Valve Tube Amps — great for jazz (and anything else!)

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