Chubby Jackson was born Greig Stewart Jackson on October 25, 1918 in New York City and began at the age of seventeen as a clarinetist but soon after changed to bass.
In the 1950s, Jackson worked as a studio musician, freelanced, and hosted some local children’s TV shows: Chubby Jackson’s Little Rascals and The Chubby Jackson Show, from 1959 to 1961. He briefly served as the fourth and last emcee of WOR TV’s Looney Tunes Show/The Chubby Jackson Show weekday afternoons, the first six months of 1962.
Jackson performed and/or recorded over the course of his career with Louis Armstrong, Raymond Scott, Jan Savitt, Henry Busse, Charlie Barnet, Oscar Pettiford, Charlie Ventura, Lionel Hampton, Bill Harris, Woody Herman, Gerry Mulligan, Lennie Tristano and others.
Double-bassist Chubby Jackson, who was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame and is best known for his spirited work both with the Herman bands and as a leader of his own small and big bands, passed away on October 1, 2003 in Rancho Bernardo, California at the age of 84.
Voices From The Community
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Magos Herrera was born in Mexico City, Mexico on October 24, 1972 and started her career as a vocalist upon graduating in 1992 from the Musicians Institute in Los Angeles. Following this, she continued her studies under Russian opera teacher Konstantin Jadan, perfecting her vocal technique, and later moved to Boston, for specialized instruction on contemporary improvisation.
She released five albums between 2000 and 2006 while living in Mexico City, then moved to New York City in 2008 and promptly became part of the local scene after a highly successful performance at the New York Winter Jazz Festival. She has recorded and participated in multiple projects including the album Stones World: The Rolling Stones Project II with saxophonist Tim Ries, The Music of Chick Corea with pianist Elio Villafranca and for contemporary composer Paola Prestini for VIA project, among others.
In 2009 Herrera released her album Distancia on the Sunnyside Records label to wide critical acclaim, co-produced by Tim Ries and featuring pianist Aaron Goldberg and guitarist Lionel Loueke. She has worked with John Patitucci, Luis Perdomo, Adam Rogers, Tim Hagans, Rogerio Boccato, and Alex Kautz, Javier Limón, Fito Páez, Eugenia León, Grégoire Maret and Chabuco. She has toured globally at clubs and jazz festivals throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.
As an educator Magos teaches vocal technique and improvisation at the Fermatta Music Academy and DIM Music School in Mexico City. She has been a guest professor for master classes and clinics at Berklee College in Boston, Berklee Latino in Colombia, Central College in Pella, Iowa, Miami Dade College, Kula Lumpur Music Academy, Escuela Superior de Música in Mexico City, JazzUV in Xalapa, and held academic residencies in Swarnabhoomy Academy of Music in Tamil Nadu, India, the Carnegie Hall Musical Exchange Program in 2012, and the Langnau Jazz Camp in Switzerland in 2016.
Jazz singer-songwriter, producer and educator Magos Herrera has been nominated and received several awards. Currently based out of New York City, she is continuing to expand her 20-year career that embraces the Spanish, English, and Portuguese languages.
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Ernest James Watts was born October 23, 1945 in Norfolk, Virginia. He began playing saxophone at thirteen. After a brief period at West Chester University, he attended Berklee College of Music on a Downbeat scholarship. He toured with Buddy Rich in the mid-1960s, occupying one of the alto saxophone chairs, with Lou Marini sitting the other.
He traveled to Africa on a US State Department tour with Oliver Nelson’s group and played tenor saxophone with The Tonight Show Band under Doc Severinsen for 20 years. During the Seventies he was a featured soloist on many of Marvin Gaye’s Motown albums, as well as on countless other pop and R&B sessions during 25 years as a first-call musician in the studios of Los Angeles, California.
In the mid-1980s Watts decided to rededicate himself to jazz, recording and touring with German guitarist and composer Torsten de Winkel, drummer Steve Smith and keyboardist Tom Coster. He joined bassist Charlie Haden’s Quartet West, played the saxophone on the Grease soundtrack, clarinet on The Color Purple soundtrack and performed on the opening theme song of the popular 80s sitcom Night Court.
Ernie founded Flying Dolphin Records and in early 2008, his Analog Man won the award in the 7th Annual Independent Music Awards for Best Jazz Album, worked with vocalist Kurt Elling, won a Grammy in 2010 for Best Jazz Vocal Album. He tours Europe twice a year with his own Ernie Watts Quartet, as well as Asia and summer jazz festivals the world over.
He has toured with the Rolling Stones, played the mystery horn on Frank Zappa’s album The Grand Wazoo, and has performed and recorded with Richard Groove Holmes, Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Alessi, Bobby Alessi, Gene Ammons, Paul Anka, Eric Martin, Willie Bobo, Brass Fever, Kenny Burrell, Lee Ritenour, David Axelrod, Donald Byrd, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham, Gino Vannelli, Randy Crawford, Kurt Elling, Torsten de Winkel, Hellmut Hattler, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson, J. J. Johnson, Carole King, Charles Kynard, John Mayall, Carmen McRae, Blue Mitchell, Helen Reddy, New Stories, Moacir Santos, Lalo Schifrin, Bud Shank, Gábor Szabó, Gerald Wilson, Ndugu Chancler, Alphonso Johnson, Patrice Rushen, Joe Louis Walker, Barry Goldberg, Paul Jones, Chubby Tavares, T. Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner and Otis Span among others.
Tenor, alto and soprano saxophonist and flautist Ernie Watts has won two Grammy Awards as an instrumentalist and continues to perform, record and tour.
Jesse Drakes was born October 22, 1924 in New York City. He hung out at Minton’s Playhouse in his youth and attended Juilliard in the 1940s. In the 1940s he played with Al Cooper’s Savoy Sultans, Sid Catlett, J.C. Heard, Edie Heywood, Deke Watson, and Sarah Vaughan. He worked extensively with Lester Young, the pair collaborated on and off between 1948 and 1956.
During this period Drakes played with Harry Belafonte, Gene Ammons, Sonny Stitt, Louie Bellson and Duke Ellington. By the late 1950s he was playing less jazz and more R&B music, touring with King Curtis and playing at the Motown studios in the 1960s. From 1969 he was based out of New York, leading dance ensembles and singing.
Trumpeter Jesse Drakes, who never recorded as a leader, was found dead in his apartment in New York City on May 1, 2010, so his actual date of death is therefore unknown.
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Don Elliott was born October 21, 1926 in Somerville, New Jersey and played mellophone in his high school band and played trumpet for an army band. After study at the University of Miami he added vibraphone to the list and recorded with Terry Gibbs and Buddy Rich before forming his own band.
From 1953 to 1960 he won the DownBeat readers poll several times for miscellaneous instrument-mellophone. Known as the “Human Instrument”, Don additionally performed jazz as a vocalist, trombonist, flugelhornist and percussionist. He pioneered the art of multitrack recording, composed countless prize-winning advertising jingles, prepared film scores, and built a thriving production company.
Elliott scored several Broadway productions including James Thurber’s The Beast in Me and A Thurber Carnival, in the latter of which he performed with his quartet. He also provided one of the voices for the novelty jazz duo the Nutty Squirrels. He lent his vocal talents to such motion picture soundtracks as The Getaway starring Steve McQueen, $ (Dollars) starring Warren Beatty, and The Hot Rock starring Robert Redford, as well as composing the score to The Happy Hooker starring Lynn Redgrave.
Elliott owned and operated one of the very first multitrack recording studios in New York City and in Weston, Connecticut and recorded over 60 albums and 5,000 advertising jingles throughout his career. A longtime associate of Quincy Jones, he contributed vocal work to many of Jones’ film scores. As sideman he performed and recorded with Phil Bodner, Miles Davis, Lee Konitz, Jackie McLean, Paul Desmond, Billy Taylor, Billy Eckstine, Bill Evans, Urbie Green, Michel Legrand, George Shearing, Marty Bell, Bob Corwin, Louis Bellson and Mundell Lowe among others.
Trumpeter, vibraphonist, vocalist, and mellophone player Don Elliott, whose recording Calypso Jazz is considered by some jazz enthusiasts to be one of the definitive calypso jazz albums, passed away of cancer on July 5, 1984 in Weston, Connecticut.