Javon Jackson

Javon Anthony Jackson (born June 16, 1965) is an American jazz tenor saxophonist, bandleader, and educator. He first became known as a member of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers from 1987 until Blakey's death in 1990.[1] and went on to release 20 recordings[2] as a bandleader and tour and record on over 150 CDs[3] with jazz greats including Elvin Jones, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, Cedar Walton, Ron Carter, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Stanley Turrentine and Ben E. King.[4][5]

Javon Jackson
Jackson at Norfolk VA performance in 2016.
Jackson at Norfolk VA performance in 2016.
Background information
Birth nameJavon Anthony Jackson
Born (1965-06-16) June 16, 1965 (age 56)
Carthage, Missouri, U.S.
GenresJazz, soul
LabelsCriss Cross, Blue Note, Palmetto, Smoke Sessions
Associated actsArt Blakey, Frediie Hubbard, Elvin Jones, Hank Jones, Thad Jones

In his solo career, his music has been a mix of tradition and neo-jazz, mixing hard bop with soul and funk influences. Recognized for those diverse styles, he was tapped by producers Lea Reis, Bryant "Moe Doe" Johnson to play on Tupac Shakur's Keep Ya Head Up / Madukey Remix in 1993.[6]

In 1992, Javon played saxophonist Illinois Jacquet in Spike Lee's Malcolm X.[7] He is featured in the film playing the Lionel Hampton/Benny Goodman standard, "Flying Home".[8]

He became chair of the University of Hartford's Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz in 2013.[9] In 2019, Newport Festivals Foundation expanded the reach of its popular Newport Jazz Assembly program with the introduction of the Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Jazz Assembly, under Jackson's direction.[10] Jackson also serves as Artistic Director of Jazz in the Valley, an annual music festival in the historic Hudson Valley, now in its 20th year.[11]

Early lifeEdit

Javon Jackson with Freddie Hubbard

Jackson was born on June 16, 1965, in Carthage, Missouri,[12] and brought up in Denver.[13] Growing up, his parents both were fans of jazz, exposing him to the music of Ahmad Jamal, Sonny Stitt, Dexter Gordon, and Charlie Parker.[13] Javon first wanted to play drums but his father thought those were too loud[13] after trying out the trumpet Jackson finally selected the alto saxophone[12] at age 10.[13] At the age of 16, he changed to tenor saxophone and in his teens, he was taught by pianist Billy Wallace.[12] He was briefly enrolled at the University of Denver,[13] before spending part of 1985–86 at the Berklee College of Music, which he abandoned to join drummer Art Blakey's band[12] in which he played alongside pianist Benny Green, trumpeter Philip Harper, trombonist Robin Eubanks, and bassist Peter Washington. Jackson was the Jazz Messenger saxophonist until Blakey's death in 1990.


University of Denver, Denver, CO 1983 (Attended)
Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA Bachelor in Music Degree 1999
State University of New York at Purchase, Purchase, NY Master of Music Degree 2003[13]


Jackson has served as Assistant Professor of Jazz at Long Island University in New York (1996-1998) and at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College in Purchase, NY (1999-2007). Professor Jackson has been Director of the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the University of Hartford since 2013. He serves as Chair of Jazz for the National YoungArts Foundation and is also a member of JEN (Jazz Education Network), where he assists as JENerations Jazz Festival's Artist and Clinician Coordinator.[14]


2009, Full-length score for Alfred Hitchcock's silent film, The Lodger, Syracuse International Film Festival.[15] Conducted Silent Film and Cool Jazz premiere screening, Syracuse International Film Festival, October 15, 2010.[15]


As leaderEdit

As sidemanEdit

With Art Blakey

With Ron Carter

With Curtis Fuller

With Charlie Haden

  • Live In Montreal DVD (Image Entertainment, 2002)

With Louis Hayes

With John Hicks

With Freddie Hubbard

With Elvin Jones

With Ben E. King

  • Heart & Soul (CanAm, 2010)

With New York Unit

With Lenny White

  • Renderers of Spirit (Silva Screen, 1996)


  1. ^ Anderson, Sheila (2019). How To Grow As A Musician (4 ed.). New York, NY: Allworth Press Books. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-62153-716-8.
  2. ^ Bilawsky, Dan. "Javon Jackson: For You (Solid Jackson)". Jazztimes.com. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "Javon Jackson Credits". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
  4. ^ "Javon Jackson at All About Jazz". Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
  5. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Javon Jackson Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved April 19, 2010.
  6. ^ "2Pac – Keep Ya Head Up". Discogs.com. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  7. ^ "Malcolm X Fuil Credits Cast & Crew". International Movie Database. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  8. ^ "Lindy Hop Dance Scene in Malcolm X (1992)". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 20, 2021. Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  9. ^ Hamad, Michael (December 16, 2013) "Javon Jackson and Curtis Fuller in Old Lyme". The Courant.
  10. ^ Belmore, Ryan. "Newport Jazz Assembly Program expands to CT under the direction of Javon Jackson". What's Up Newport. Retrieved June 3, 2020.
  11. ^ McClair PR. "Still Time to Catch Jazz in the Valley". Patch.com. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d Feather, Leonard & Gitler, Ira (1999) The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press.
  13. ^ a b c d e f Yonke, David (November 30, 2006) "Jazz Saxman Javon Jackson Learned from Legends". Toledo Blade. p. E9.
  14. ^ "Professor of Jazz Saxophone; Director, Jackie McLean Jazz Studies Division Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz". University of Hartford. Retrieved June 15, 2020.
  15. ^ a b Battaglia, James. "Saxophonist Javon Jackson premieres his score for Hitchcock thriller at Syracuse International Film Festival". Syracuse.com. Post - Standard. Retrieved June 23, 2020.

External linksEdit