Paul Jackson Day

March 28, 1947 – March 18, 2021


A tribute to the funk and jazz bassist

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Electric bassist Paul Jackson passed away on March 18, 2021 at the age of 73

He was born on March 28, 1947 in Oakland, California and was inspired to start on the bass when he was nine after seeing Paul Chambers play with the Miles Davis Quintet.

Jackson performed with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra when he was 14, studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and during 1969-70 made his recording debut on two albums led by guitarist Eddie Fisher in St. Louis.

Attracted to funk, Jackson (who is not to be confused with the guitarist of the same name) switched to the electric bass where his jazz background led him to playing inventive improvised lines while keeping the music funky.

In 1973 he became a member of Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, playing on the best-selling Head Hunters album (including “Chameleon” which he co-wrote) and the three albums that followed (Thrust, Man-Child and Flood) plus two other records by the Headhunters made without Hancock.

Jackson appeared on many albums during the era as a sideman including with the Pointer Sisters, Santana, Stanley Turrentine, Eddie Henderson, Bennie Maupin, and Sonny Rollins (Easy Living).

In 1985 Paul Jackson, Jr. moved to Japan where he lived for the remainder of his life, writing for television and films in addition to working locally.

When the Headhunters reformed in the late 1990s, Jackson was part of the group, appearing on four additional albums.

He remained active until failing health forced his retirement in 2016.

Paul Jackson Jr. is featured with Herbie Hancock in 1979 on “Hang Up Your Hang Ups” at a London concert with a group that also includes tenor-saxophonist Bennie Maupin, guitarist Ray Obiedo, keyboardist Webster Lewis Jr, drummer Alphonse Mouzon, and percussionist Bill Summers.

-Scott Yanow


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