Renowned drummer Duffy Jackson hosts masterclass

As talented as Duffy Jackson may be as a musician, his comedy routine could use a little work. His introductory rouse left a few crickets chirping, and it appears that humor is not his strong point. That isn’t why the audience was here though. They were looking to learn from one of jazz’s acclaimed drummers.

All jokes aside, Jackson is not just a drummer, but a pianist, bassist, and vocalist as well. Playing the drums since age five, Jackson had music instilled in him at a young age. It also helped that his father Chubby Jackson was jazz double-bassist who performed and recorded with the likes of Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton.

Jackson however, did not ride on the coattails of his father’s success, as he successfully established his own reputation as an incredibly passionate and skillful jazz drummer. At the age of seven, he had assembled and directed his own band and appeared on national television’s “I’ve Got a Secret.”

From then on, Jackson was constantly in the spotlight performing and recording. He has performed with Count Basie Orchestra, Sammy Davis Jr., Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Buddy Rich, Harry Connick Jr., and several others.

His masterclass at the Rialto was more interactive and inviting than a traditional class. He invited friends and audience members to join in on jam sessions. As the sessions went on, Jackson showed that he had chops in instruments other than the drums. He moved to the piano, and then to the upright bass. Although talented, Jackson is extremely humble and remembers his roots. He felt honored when one of the drummers there cited that Jackson was a great influence on him.

His class may have been a little unconventional, but the message remains clear: This man not only loves performing jazz, but he wants to see other musicians succeed. His love for directing bands and musicians was shown through his passion for teaching. Through Jackson’s masterclass, Georgia State became a little more enlightened in the realm of jazz.