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Ali Jackson

2023 Jazz Road Creatives

Ali Jackson

Recipient Information


Detroit, Michigan

Project Title

Mind the Music

Year of Award


Grant or Fellowship

Jazz Road Creative Residencies Grant

Grant Amount


This project with support the production of a modern mini documentary series exploring artistic journeys of master musicians, through the film lens of the musician. Master musician Ali Jackson will conduct interviews and personal interactions with a variety of masters. Interviews will be captured in New York City and New Orleans. The series of these experiences is entitled "Mind the Music".

About the Artist

Ali Jackson is a highly accomplished musician, composer, arranger, and educator known for his virtuosity on percussion. Starting at a young age, he excelled in playing drums and piano, receiving intense training from his father, jazz bassist Ali Jackson Sr. Throughout his career, Ali has collaborated with legendary musicians such as Max Roach, Milt Hinton, Betty Carter, and Wynton Marsalis, impressing them with his advanced knowledge of music theory.

Ali's educational background includes studying at the New School University for Contemporary Music in New York City under the tutelage of Max Roach and Elvin Jones. He gained recognition early on as a soloist and was selected for prestigious programs and awards such as the Beacons of Jazz program and the Thelonius Monk Institute. Ali's unique style encompasses a comprehensive understanding of different genres and historical periods, showcasing his melodic drum solos and intense playing.

After touring and recording with various artists, Ali became the Drum Chair of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis. He played a vital role in defining the sound of the orchestra and performed on countless recordings and concert videos.

Ali's extensive collaborations include working with artists like Tony Bennett, Norah Jones, Eric Clapton, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Krall, among many others. He has released several albums as a bandleader and has contributed to numerous albums as a featured musician. Ali's compositions showcase his unique command of rhythm and harmonies, with notable works including Living Grooves: A World in Jazz Rhythm and the ballet composition r-Evolution, Dream.

Beyond his musical pursuits, Ali is a passionate advocate for arts and music education. He supports jazz education programs and has conducted master classes and lectures at various universities. He has also donated musical instruments and provided music education classes for students across the country.

Overall, Ali Jackson's career is marked by his exceptional talent, extensive collaborations, and dedication to promoting music education.