Ronald Shannon Jackson passed away peacefully at home in Fort Worth, Texas this weekend at the age of 73. He had been battling leukemia.
The groundbreaking drummer had performed with jazz giants Charles Mingus, Betty Carter, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ray Bryant, Stanley Turrentine, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, and Ornette Coleman, and influenced a generation on his own with his bands The Decoding Society and Power Tools.
In 1940, Jackson was born around music. "My mother played piano and organ at St. Andrew's Methodist Church, and worked as a schoolteacher. My father owned the only black-owned local record store and jukebox business," he wrote in the bio on his website. "On one side of my family is Curtis Ousley (who became famous as King Curtis). On the other is David 'Fathead' Newman. I started playing drums in elementary school under the clarinetist John Carter, and in high school under Mr. Baxter, the same teacher who taught Ornette Coleman, Curtis Ousley, Dewey Redman, John Carter, Julius Hemphill, Charles Moffett, and James Jordan."
Jackson spent many years touring the world and teaching, up until his recent passing.