Cliff Jackson Biography

19 July 1902, Culpeper, Virginia, USA, d. 24 May 1970, New York City, New York, USA. After studying piano formally Jackson turned to jazz, working in various east coast cities before coming to New York in the early 20s. During the rest of the decade he played in several minor bands, eventually joining one led by Elmer Snowden. Jackson later formed his own small group for club engagements. In the 30s he worked mostly as a soloist but also accompanied singers. In the 40s he was with Sidney Bechet, Eddie Condon and others, appearing regularly throughout this and the following decade at New York’s top jazz clubs, including Nick’s Cafe Society (Downtown) and Jimmy Ryan’s. Also in the 60s he worked with his wife, Maxine Sullivan. He was resident at the RX Room from 1968 until the night before his death in May 1970. His widow later turned their home into a museum, the ‘House That Jazz Built’. A vigorous performer, early in his career Jackson was a leading stride pianist, greatly feared in cutting contests where he would happily take on much bigger names.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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