Javon Jackson, Jazz Saxophonist collaborating with acclaimed Poet, Nikki Giovanni

Artemis Speaks

Nov 7 2023 • 37 mins

The Moss Center in Blacksburg, Virginia presented a live performance and historic collaboration between renowned poet and Virginia Tech legend Nikki Giovanni and saxophonist-composer and former Jazz Messenger Javon Jackson. Their collaboration for over a year has yielded the CD The Gospel According to Nikki Giovanni.

For an intimate jazz performance, Jackson brought his bold-toned, Trane-inspired tenor lines to bear on a series of hymns, spirituals, and gospel numbers hand-picked by Giovanni. The live performance also included jazz singer, Nnenna Freelon. This collaboration with Nikki Giovanni produced Jackson's fifth album for his Solid Jackson Records label.

With a remarkable career as a Jazz saxophonist, Jackson released a potent tribute to a towering influence, Celebrating John Coltrane. His inaugural release on Solid Jackson Records featured the venerable drummer and former Coltrane collaborator Jimmy Cobb. He followed later in 2012 with Lucky 13, which featured the great soul-jazz keyboardist Les McCann and included a mellow instrumental rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry' Bout a Thing" along with a version of McCann's 1969 hit, "Compared to What."

That same remarkably productive year, Jackson received the prestigious Benny Golson Award from Howard University in Washington, D.C., for recognition of excellence in jazz. Jackson's debut on the Smoke Sessions label, 2014's Expression, was a live quartet recording from the Smoke Jazz & Supper Club in Upper Manhattan.


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