Jackson, who died in 1999, was a jazz vibraphonist and one of my teenage musical heroes. He was the reason that, in the mid-sixties, I bought myself a set of vibes...which I never learned to play well and finally sold.
Jackson, nicknamed "Bags" by a friend, was born in Detroit in 1923 and grew up surrounded by music. He was a singer but switched to the vibes when he heard Lionel Hampton. He was "discovered" by Dizzy Gillespie, and worked his way up the ranks playing with notables such as Woody Herman, Thelonious Monk, and Charlie Parker.
He founded the Modern Jazz Quartet in the early 1950s with drummer Kenny Clarke (who you may not have heard of but who was a jazz percussion innovator), pianist John Lewis, and bassist Ray Brown.
One of my favorite Milt Jackson albums was the one he did with another of my youthful heroes, Wes Montgomery.
Here are two of my favorite tracks from the album Bags Meets Wes -- Stairway to the Stars, and Delilah. Enjoy.
Stairway to the Stars:
For both tracks...
Milt Jackson -- vibraphone
Wes Montgomery -- guitar
Philly Joe Jones -- drums
Sam Jones - bass
Wynton Kelly -- piano
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