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Al Jackson, Jr.: Wikis

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Al Jackson, Jr.
Birth name Alan Jackson
Born November 27, 1935(1935-11-27)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Died October 1, 1975 (aged 39)
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres R&B, funk, soul, Memphis soul
Instruments Drums
Years active 1940-1975
Labels Stax
Associated acts Booker T. & the MGs

Al Jackson, Jr. (November 27, 1935 – October 1, 1975) was a drummer, producer, and songwriter. He is best known as a founding member of Booker T. & the M.G.s, a group of session musicians who worked for Stax Records and produced their own instrumentals. Jackson was called "The Human Timekeeper" for his drumming ability.

Contents

Early life

Jackson's father, Al Jackson Sr. led a jazz/swing dance band in Memphis, Tennessee. The young Jackson started drumming at an early age and began playing on stage with his father's band in 1940 at the age of 5. He later began playing in producer/trumpeter Willie Mitchell's band and at the same time was holding down the chair with the popular Ben Branch Band. Future bandmates Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn first saw Jackson playing in Mitchell's band at the all white Manhattan Club.

Career

Jackson became one of the most important and influential drummers in the history of recorded music at Stax, providing an instantly recognizable backbeat behind the label's artists which included Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, and Blues guitarist Albert King, who Jackson also produced. In the Seventies, Jackson co-wrote and played on several hits by Al Green, including "Let's Stay Together" and "I'm Still in Love with You".

Death

After researching the history of Stax for ten years, Grammy Award winning Musicology professor Rob Bowman wrote in Soulsville U.S.A.: The Story of Stax Records that four years after the last Booker T. & the MGs album, 1971's Melting Pot, the group got together and decided to wrap up all of their individual productions and devote three years to a reunion of the band. On September 30, 1975, Al Jackson was scheduled to fly to Detroit, Michigan, to produce a Major Lance session when he heard the DJ on the radio reminding everyone of the Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali fight that night. Jackson called Detroit and said he was going to watch "The Thrilla in Manila" with his girlfriend on the big screen at the Mid-South Coliseum. Though still legally married, Jackson was estranged from his wife. In July 1975 his wife had shot him in the chest. He decided not to press charges, but was in the process of a divorce and was planning to move to Atlanta, Georgia, to begin working with Stax singer/songwriter William Bell.[citation needed]

After the Ali-Frazier fight, Jackson returned home and found intruders in his house. He was reportedly told to get down on his knees and then shot fatally five times in the back. Around 3:00 a.m. on October 1, Barbara Jackson ran out in the street, yelling for help. She told police that burglars had tied her up and then shot her husband when he returned home. Police found nothing in the house out of place and Al Jackson's wallet and jewelry were still on him. The man police believed to have pulled the trigger – the then-boyfriend of R&B singer Denise LaSalle – had reportedly known someone in Memphis and after robbing a bank in Florida, told them to meet him over at Al Jackson's house. Indictments against Barbara Jackson, Denise LaSalle and her boyfriend were supposed to be served, but never were. Tracked through Florida to Memphis to Seattle, Washington, the suspected triggerman was killed by a police officer on July 15, 1976 after a gun battle.[citation needed]

Equipment

Jackson used Rogers Drums with a 20" bass drum, 12" tom, 16" floor tom, and occasionally a 13" tom. He used a 14"x5" Ludwig aluminum shell snare drum with 8 lugs. Zildjian 16" Crash, 18" Ride, and 14" Hi-Hats.

External links and References

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