Tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson was born in 1965 in Carthage, Missouri.
After moving to Cleveland, his family finally settled in Denver, where
he remained until he met Branford Marsalis while playing with the
McDonald’s All-American Band. Marsalis encouraged the young saxophonist to attend
Boston’s prestigious Berklee School of Music, which he did from 1984-86.
Originally an alto saxophonist, the young Javon’s early interest in Jazz
was stimulated by his parents who were big fans of Gene Ammons and Ahmad
Jamal. He soon became enamored with the work of Sonny Stitt, but as he
grew older, his discovery of Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson and John
Coltrane resulted in his switch to the bigger, more muscular horn.
While at Berklee, he studied with the renowned saxophone pedagogue Joe
Viola, as well as saxophonist Billy Pierce and pianist Donald Brown,
both of whom had played with the legendary Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.
Brown was instrumental in connecting Javon with Buhaina, and after sitting in
with the Messengers one night in 1987 at New York’s Mikell’s, he was
invited to join the band. He remained with Blakey until the great
drummer’s death in 1980, playing alongside future heavyweights like
saxophonist Kenny Garrett, trumpeters Wallace Roney and Terence
Blanchard and pianist Benny Green. Learning "more in one week with Blakey, than
anywhere else in my career," Javon views that three plus years’
experience as profoundly impacting on his musical sensibility.
He went on to work with major artists like Nat Adderley, Richard Davis
and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, and most importantly with
two other legendary Jazz figures, Freddie Hubbard and the amazing Elvin
Jones, who played on Javon’s first solo recording, 'Me and Mr. Jones' for Criss
In 1993, he signed with Blue Note and his first CD, 'When the Time is
Right' was produced by the late, great Betty Carter. His fifth and
latest recording for Blue Note is 'Pleasant Valley' with his new band (Larry
Goldings, organ; Dave Stryker, guitar; and his longtime drummer, Billy
Drummond). Javon has also played with the Blue Note All-Stars in
addition to touring with his own band and his busy work as a sideman.