Het is vandaag al 45 jaar geleden dat de zwarte drummer Al Jackson jr. werd neergeschoten in zijn eigen huis, zogezegd door inbrekers, maar lees vooral verder…
Jackson’s father, Al Jackson Sr., led a jazz/swing dance band in Memphis, Tennessee. The young Jackson started drumming at an early age and began playing on stage with his father’s band in 1940 at the age of five. He was about 14 years old when he played in producer/trumpeter Willie Mitchell’s band.
Future band mates Steve Cropper and Donald “Duck” Dunn first heard Jackson playing in Mitchell’s band at the Flamingo Room, and the all-white Manhattan Club. Mitchell had also hired Booker T. Jones for his band. It was Jones who suggested Jackson be brought to Stax. It only took one session with Jackson to convince Duck and Cropper that they had to have him: Jackson was affectionately dubbed “The Human Timekeeper” for his drumming ability.
Jackson however was reluctant at first. He felt he could make more money playing live than doing session work. He wanted a guaranteed regular salary to come over to Stax. And so he became the first Stax session musician to be on a weekly salary.
Jackson became one of the most important and influential drummers in the history of recorded music at Stax, providing an instantly recognizable backbeat behind the label’s artists who included Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, Otis Redding, and blues guitarist Albert King, whose work Jackson also produced. Jackson co-wrote “Respect” and many other Stax hits.
In the Seventies, Jackson was a session drummer for many artists, such as Tina Turner, Bill Withers, Leon Russell, Albert King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Eric Clapton, Jean Knight, Major Lance, Ann Peebles, Shirley Brown, Donny Hathaway, and Herbie Mann. Jackson also co-wrote and played on several hits by Al Green.
On September 30, 1975, Al Jackson was scheduled to fly from Memphis to Detroit, Michigan, to produce a Major Lance session, when he supposedly heard a reminder on the radio about the Joe Frazier–Muhammad Ali fight that night. Jackson called Detroit to delay and said he was going to watch “The Thrilla in Manila” on the big screen at the Mid-South Coliseum. After the match, he returned home to find intruders in his house. He was reportedly told to get down on his knees and was then fatally shot five times in the back. Around 3 a.m. on October 1, Barbara Jackson ran out in the street, yelling for help. She told police that burglars had tied her up and shot her husband when he had returned home. Police found nothing out of place in the house, and Jackson’s wallet and jewelry were still on him.
Though still legally married, Jackson was estranged from his wife. In July 1975, his wife had shot him in the chest. He decided not to press charges, but was in the process of filing for divorce and intending to move to Atlanta.
The man believed to have pulled the trigger had reportedly known someone in Memphis and after robbing a bank in Florida, told them to meet him over at Al Jackson’s house. Tracked through Florida to Memphis and then to Seattle, Washington, the suspected triggerman, the boyfriend of Barbara Jackson’s friend Denise LaSalle, was killed by a police officer on July 15, 1976 after a gun battle. (Wikipedia)
Eén van de laatste platen waaraan Al Jackson meewerkte, was “A night on the town” van Rod Stewart. Ik heb altijd gedacht dat de pathetiek van Rod in “The killing of Georgie”, dat weliswaar over een homofobe moord gaat (en dan ook op realiteit gebaseerd), mede voortkwam uit de recente moord op Jackson.