… So Far

COMPOSERS: DD Jackson
LABELS: RCA Victor
ALBUM TITLE: DD Jackson
PERFORMER: DD Jackson (p)
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 63549 2

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Jackson might not be able to part the waters like an Old Testament jazz prophet quite yet, but at 33, that day cannot be far off. In the meantime he has jumped to the forefront of the young pretenders in the jazz mainstream with a style that sounds refreshingly new, simply because he has had the patience to find his own voice, and while this may be a post-modern pastiche of jazz piano icons, it is at once arresting and often compelling.

Of nine original compositions on the album, six are tributes such as the captivating ‘Playground’, dedicated to Claude Debussy, although it has more Ravel, Ellington and Coltrane influences than Debussy. ‘Round and Round’ is dedicated to Vladimir Horowitz, while ‘Camiliano,’ for Michel Camilo the ebullient jazz pianist from the Dominican Republic, is based on montuno with Chopinesque overtones and a suggestion of the old standard ‘Dark Eyes’.

It is the way which Jackson combines the impulse of the improviser with the skill of a classical virtuoso that makes this such a striking major label debut. If at times he evokes the rhapsodic adventuring of the late Errol Garner, comparisons don’t stop there.

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While Garner’s best-selling album from 1955, Concert by the Sea, was recorded on an out-of-tune piano, there is no excuse for Jackson’s Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand to be a shade out of whack, but even this fails to detract from the sweep of the younger man’s imagination. Stuart Nicholson