Summer, 2014
D.D. Jackson 

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Composer/Arranger for Television, Film & Media

Jazz Pianist, Composer & Educator




With Labor Day already behind us, I thought it was time to get out my Summer Newsletter before the "official" end of summer (later this month!) Please read ahead for some of my activities of late, from my performance at Radio City Music Hall with The Roots, to the Emmy Awards received by one of the shows for which I compose music; to my students appearance as special guests at the Apollo Theater. And as always, please continue to keep me in mind for your arranging/production/composing and performing needs!


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Performance with The Roots
at Radio City Music Hall and more



In June I was asked to do all of the orchestrations and to perform with The
At Radio City with The Roots
for their appearance at Radio City Music Hall (hosted by comedian Dave Chappelle), featuring a 30-piece orchestra conducted by Andrew Cyr of the Metropolis Ensemble. For it I fashioned a reflective "Adagio for Strings"-type introduction to their hit "Dear God 2.0" (by The  Roots & Monsters of Folk), wrote a deliberately "silent movie-music-inspired" full orchestra arrangement of their tune "Adrenaline" (complete with "hammy" orchestral middle-section interlude), and wrote jazzy, stretched out extrapolations of such pieces as "Stay Cool" and "Rising Up". I was also privileged to perform onstage with them on piano, including during my "Stay Cool" arrangement in which I provided an avant-garde piano "breakdown" (projected onto the "big screen"), with Questlove on drums -  a 
truly thrilling experience.

myself (piano) with David Murray & Questlove
Sadly, this was to be my last collaboration with the Roots' longtime manager & producer Richard Nichols (who passed away in July), though hopefully not my last collaboration with The Roots. In tribute to him, this past month I headed down to Philly's Union Transfer to participate as arranger (along with Anthony Tidd) and as pianist in what I personally felt was a "concert for the ages", a Richard Nichols Memorial Concert featuring everyone with whom he had associated over the years, including Questlove, Black Thought, Rhazel, Bilal, Ray Angry and Mark Kelley from The Roots; saxophonist David Murray (who had first introduced me to them, for which I'm eternally grateful), and trombonist Craig Harris; astonishing beat-making virtuoso Jeremy Ellis; "human beatboxer" Rahzel with Kenny Muhammad; Emily Wells; plus many meaningful family and friends from Richard's life who contributed stories about this remarkable individual. Among the pieces performed was a blistering version of my arrangement of Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain", with Captain Kirk and Questlove taking things to the stratosphere.

the late, great Richard Nichols
The concert ended with Questlove's at times soaring, at times contemplative conception of Tony Williams' "There Comes a Time" in a group that also included Ray Angry, Bilal, David Murray, Mark Kelley, and myself (for which I also wrote a string quartet arrangement and played on piano); and which ended heatbreakingly with the words "I love you more when it's over." As one person pointed out: one testament to Richard's reach was the fact that many in that room would never have been brought together in the first place without his own eclectic, highly "curated" tastes. For involving me in such musical "match-making" and also just for his belief in me, I will be eternally grateful.
Peg + Cat Wins 3 Emmy Awards!

In my "other life" as composer for television and media (and, of late, particularly children's t.v.), I was pleased that Peg + Cat (for which I am one of their 3 main composers) was the recipient of 3 Emmy Awards, including "Outstanding Pre-School Children's Animated Program", a Production Design award for the show's co-creator Jennifer Oxley, and an award for the voice of Peg - Hayley Faith Negrin. I also received my 2nd Emmy Certificate (to go with one I previously received for my contributions as composer to "The Wonder Pets"). Look for episodes of Peg + Cat on PBS Kids every morning. If you have Netflix, you can watch one of my favorites for which I composed the music by clicking below:



Issue 9
D.D. Jackson
In This Issue
Performance with The Roots at Radio City Music Hall
Peg + Cat Wins 3 Emmy Awards!
Harlem School of the Arts at the Apollo!
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Harlem School of the Arts plays the Apollo and more


On the Education front, I was also recently appointed Chair of Jazz & Contemporary Music at the Harlem School of the Arts, and was excited that the Harlem School of the Arts Jazz Quartet  I direct (Gabby Garo - flute; Matt Whitaker  - B3; Warner Meadows - piano; and Dom Gervais - drums) were the Special Guests at a recent August Amateur Night at the Apollo, where they received a rousing standing ovation. Matt is also currently being featured on the Ovation T.V. show "Young Marvels", which has been chronicling his life as a child prodigy over the last few months.
13-year old prodigy (and my HSA student) Matt Whitaker

I also recently finished auditions for my Popular Music Combos class at Hunter College, which I'm going on my 6th year teaching (along with my other activities there teaching History of Jazz and doing some private instruction). Additionally, we recently released our 5th annual CD, something I started when I first began the combos to give the students as much "real world", studio experience as possible. Among the 6 tracks are 4 original student compositions developed in class, with everything recorded "marathon style" over just 5 hours and later produced and mixed mostly by myself (with talented Hunter student Joey Feiger producing/mixing his own track as an assignment - and doing a very nice job!)


My websites:
Composing for Media Website
Composing for Media
Jazz Website
Jazz Website
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D.D. Jackson
film/t.v./media website:
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tel: 973-762-4012