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Ronald Shannon Jackson picture
Ronald Shannon Jackson biography
Ronald Shannon Jackson, along with Bill Laswell, John Zorn, Vernon Reid and other NYC based jazz musicians, played an important role in that movement that took jazz/rock away from formulaic post-70s 'fuzak' and re-energized the genre with a punky urban urgency and creative use of musical forms that had previously been considered outside of the jazz boundries. Jackson got his start playing with prestigous free jazz culprits such as Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler, & most importantly, Ornette Coleman. Jackson was an original member of Coleman's highly influentuial electric jazz emsemble 'Prime Time'. It was his exposure to Coleman's harmolodic compositional technique during this period that would shape the direction of Jackson's own music.

In the late 70's Jackson began forming what would come to be known as 'The Decoding Society' which showcased influential players Vernon Reid (Living Colour) & Melvin Gibbs (Rollins Band, Power Tools). Jackson released several albums with The Decoding Society throughout the 80's, the most notable of which was the 1982 release 'Mandance', an album that was praised by critics & fans alike as a watershed in the history of jazz.

In 1986 Jackson joined forces with free jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock (an unaccredited contributor to Miles Davis' 'A Tribute to Jack Johnson'), avant-garde sax player Peter Brotzmann, & experimental bassist Bill Laswell (Material, Massacre, Praxis) to form 'Last Exit', a band that focused on improvisational jazz with an aggressive edge. A year later Jackson joined Bill Frisell (Naked City) & Melvin Gibbs to form the little known yet highly influential band 'Power Tools'.

Jackson's activity has steadily declined since the 90's. His last recording, 'Shannon's House', was released in 1996.

- Danial 'Captain Capricorn' and John 'Easy Money'

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RONALD SHANNON JACKSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.40 | 5 ratings
Eye On You ( with The Decoding Society)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Nasty ( with The Decoding Society)
4.00 | 1 ratings
Street Priest ( with The Decoding Society)
4.50 | 2 ratings
Man Dance ( with The Decoding Society)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Barbecue Dog ( with The Decoding Society)
5.00 | 1 ratings
Pulse ( Puttin'On Dog)
3.00 | 1 ratings
Decode Yourself (with The Decoding Society)
0.00 | 0 ratings
When Colors Play (with The Decoding Society)
4.00 | 1 ratings
4.00 | 1 ratings
Red Warrior
0.00 | 0 ratings
0.00 | 0 ratings
Raven Roc (with The Decoding Society)
0.00 | 0 ratings
What Spirit Say (with The Decoding Society)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Shannon's House
0.00 | 0 ratings
Talkeye (with The Decoding Society)

RONALD SHANNON JACKSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At The Caravan Of Dreams ( with Twins Seven Seven)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Beast In The Spider Bush: Live At The Caravan Of Dreams
0.00 | 0 ratings
Earned Dreams
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live At Greenwich House (with The Decoding Society)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Live In Warsaw (with The Decoding Society)
0.00 | 0 ratings
Montreux Jazz Festival (with The Decoding Society)


RONALD SHANNON JACKSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RONALD SHANNON JACKSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Decode Yourself (with The Decoding Society) by JACKSON, RONALD SHANNON album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.00 | 1 ratings

Decode Yourself (with The Decoding Society)
Ronald Shannon Jackson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Easy Money
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

— First review of this album —
3 stars When this album came out in the mid 80s Ronald Shannon Jackson was making a timely but not quite successful attempt to tie together many disparate musical trends of that time period; including a return to free jazz, early hip-hop drum machine patterns, post-punk thrash guitar jams and an eclectic approach to fusion that defied the bland uniform 'fuzak' of the early 80s. Unfortunately the 80s (there's a song on here called Software Shuffle) was all about electronic drums, and this album has that Simmons sound in abundance. In fact the crash bang of the garbage can lids on every downbeat on Thieves Market is enough to drive anyway crazy, or crazy enough to get up and move to the next song.

The influence of Ornette Coleman's 'free-funk' Prime Time ensemble (Jackson was a founding member) is large. The exotic languid melodies, uniquely scored for sax, trombone and violin, all sound like they could have been penned by Ornette himself. Likewise the guitar work of then rising star and ex-Ornette sideman Vernon Reid is also a strong presence. Reid's ability to mix modern jazz with the latest developments in metal and hardcore punk are used to good effect as he leads the band into really rockin heavy fusion the likes of which hadn't been heard since the glory days of McLaughlin's duels with Billy Cobham in Mahavishnu.

This album was a real trendy groundbreaker when it came out. but I don't know how well it translates today. On side two, Undressing features a pounding Simmons beat with Prince styled synth stabs while the horn/string section plays a mournful Ornette styled lengthy minor key melody. It doesn't sound as much innovative anymore as just weird. For fans of Jackson's thrash/jazz drumming, he does turn off the machines occasionally and tears it up with Reid and the others on some crazy free jazz as well as some hardcore influenced jazz-rock. Overall this is an uneven album, but one that has some good cuts and moments scattered throughout.

Thanks to Easy Money & Captain Capricorn for the artist addition.

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