franz r jackson (1912, may 6th 2008)
- I guess it is for me to announce that my favorite musician I ever played with has died, Franz Jackson lived to the ripe age of 95. It was incredible to still be able to play with him on a couple of gigs in the last few months, and at least he was able to give everyone a taste of the real jazz first hand, even well into the new century.
Franz was born in November 1 1912 in
Rock Island Illinois. he started playing sax when he was 12, and by the
time he was 16 he was playing with Albert Ammons, Francois Mousley and
Punch Miller. He was, by 1931 playing in many of the top Chicago bands (Cassino Simpson, Reuben Reeves, Walter Barnes and Caroll Dickerson to name a few), and manged to record in late 1933 with reeves. Note that 3 of the 4 songs recorded were his compositions, and all 4 were his arrangements. In 1937 Franz, after playing with Jimmy Noone and Roy Eldridge, replaced Ben Webster in Fletcher Henderson's band, playing the same book that Hawk made famous. A CD issue of the broadcasts show both Franz and Henderson's last great band in good light (the 78's ,save for an exceelent version of "Moten Stomp" are pops, but Franz takes an 8 bar solo on one of Vocalion's). After the residency finished, Franz again played with Roy Eldridge, this time in NYC, making both some fine records for Variety as well as a broadcast that came out on an LP format Jazz Archives #14.
The 40's were a time busy with arrangements for many big bands (including the Bascomb brothers, Cootie Williams and Jack Teagarden), as well as playing both in big bands led by Fats Waller, Earl Hines and combos like Frankie Newton's. He led a small group at the Savoy and other clubs, before doing USO shows ( a recording is issued on "Jazz and Hot Dance in Finland" from 1947 of Franz playing the blues with a sextet and vocalist I believe to be Myra Johnson).
In the 50's Franz started up the famous (Franz Jackson and his Original
Jass All Stars) small group of veterans like Bob Schoffner, Al Wynn,
Preston Jackson, Ikey Robinson and Roxelle Claxton amongst others to
play at the Red Arrow and other clubs in the Chicago area for over 15
years. Even though it was basically a trad band, he did several blues
and even some of the numbers he had written in the swing era. Finally,
from the 70's to early this year Franz has been playing both the
traditional jazz repertoire as well as the swing era music he loved so
much, and playing much of it tenor sax again (the Original Jass All
Stars, he mostly played clarinet), and singing in his characteristic
The reason for his death was complications after a hip
surgery last month.I will miss Franz, he was, in many ways, my musical
mentor and teacher. More than even for his great music and presence,
but the man, I miss the links to the era I love so much,the people form
that era were some of the greatest friends I ever had.
I hope I have not been to emotional regarding my friend, thanks for reading, sincerely Yves Francois
Be a better friend, newshound, and
know-it-all with Yahoo! Mobile. Try it now. http://mobile.yahoo.com/;_ylt=Ahu06i62sR8HDtDypao8Wcj9tAcJ