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Milt Jackson

Biography

Milt Jackson's approach to the vibes is so perfect that every player to come after him (most notably Cal Tjader and Bobby Hutcherson) has used his basic approach. Even the instrument's previous innovators, Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton, were changed by him. Jackson turned what was most often used as a percussive instrument or a frenzied showstopper into a focal, improvising instrument. He slowed down the playing, allowing the notes to hang and vibrate in the air, while keeping the Swing foundation alive. Jackson was part of Dizzy Gillespie's Bop revolution before jumping ship to join the Modern Jazz Quartet, where he added his blues touch to their cool brand of chamber jazz. The MJQ continue to be a widely popular group, but Jackson has had plenty of chances to shine with a diverse array of artists including Ray Charles, Wes Montgomery, John Coltrane, and Paul Desmond.
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