Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Forgotten Stride Pianist
B. D. Tutt | London, UK. | 03/31/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Cliff Jackson is now a largely forgotten pianist in the stride tradition. A native of Washington DC (like Duke Ellington & Claude Hopkins), he was influenced by James P. Johnson and other Harlem pianists of the 1920s. Jackson's first recordings were with his own band, the "Krazy Kats". They had a strong reputation in New York but were recorded on the obscure Grey Gull label and had little national exposure. Tracks 1 - 12 are the complete recorded output of this band.Tracks 13 - 16 are 1944 quartet recordings with the excellent Pee Wee Russell from the Black and White label. The remaining tracks are piano solos from 1944-45. Jackson played stride with great vigour but limited imagination and an excessive reliance on a handful of riffs and left hand back-beats. The effect after a few tracks is one of slight monotony. Of the tracks here, "Limehouse Blues" is probably the best, building the tension up effectively through a number of choruses. "Sweet Lorraine" is given an insensitive reading (compare with James P. Johnson's Asch performances from 1945), but when Jackson allows himself to play at medium pace, as on "Memphis Blues", he swings effectively.Historically interesting, but one for completists rather than the casual purchaser."
Process - oriented stride
jive rhapsodist | NYC, NY United States | 04/28/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It ain't easy being number four. Anybody who knows and loves this music is conversant with Waller, Willie the Lion, James P. But Jackson is a major pianist. His approach on the 1944 - 45 solos is unique and fascinating. He begins with a fairly straight presentation of the tune and, each chorus, adds some new elements of harmonic and gestural detail. This is particularly effective on Limehouse Blues, You Took Advantage of Me and Sweet Lorraine.
It's kind of schematic, but that's not a bad thing, and it reminds me of the proceedures of Steve Reich in his Drumming period. Jackson is clearly not really an improvisor - his performances are largely "set". But none of the Stride greats improvised so much, as you can see if you compare different recorded versions of the same pieces."