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Jackson and Decoding Society @ The Kessler Theatre

May 27, 2012

The Denton Jazz Connection and more

By Kathy Edwards McFarland

Ronald Shannon Jackson makes a rare appearance with the newest incarnation of Decoding Society, 8:30 p.m., July 7, 2012, in the Jazz at the Kessler series, the Kessler Theater, 1230 West Davis Street, Oak Cliff. Link to purchase tickets | About the Kessler Theater

This exciting, avant-garde Jazz experience features Ronald Shannon Jackson – Drums, Flute and Schalmei (an 8-bell signal horn. – actually a reed instrument that produces a very loud sound); University of North Texas Jazz Studies alums Drew Phelps, bass, and Leonard Hayward, violin; trumpet player John

Ronald Shannon Jackson was one of the UNT Jazz Guest Lecturers in 2007.

Weir; and Guitarist Gregg Prickett.

Phelps had been rehearsing and playing with the great avant-garde jazz drummer Roland Shannon Jackson, a Fort Worth native who has recently returned to his Texas roots after a lengthy stay in New York City.

“I was going over to his house once a week for well over a year and playing with him, and that was pretty much all electric bass,” said Drew. “It was a real cool experience, learning about that whole harmelodic* thing, which was a whole new way of playing for me.”

(Another UNT/Denton connection: February 20, 2007, Shannon gave two talks and played with students at the University of North Texas as part of the annual Jazz Lecture Series.)

*The Jazz technique of each musician in a group simultaneously improvising around the melodic and rhythmic patterns in a tune, rather than one musician improvising on its underlying harmonic pattern while the others play an accompaniment

Check out these two 2012 Ronald Shannon Jackson and Decoding Society rehearsal tracks –

“Wrong Jones”:
“He Walks in the River”:

More about Ronald Shannon Jackson

Ronald Shannon Jackson has kicked it with many Jazz greats such as Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Betty Carter, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ray Bryant, Stanley Turrentine, Bennie Maupin and Shirley Scott.

“I performed and recorded with three musical revolutionaries who virtually defined jazz in the 1970’s: Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, and Ornette Coleman. I am the only musician to perform and record with all three.

After my final performance with Ornette Coleman on Saturday Night Live in 1979, I created The Decoding Society, whose classic recordings, including “Eye on You,” “Mandance,” “Street Priest,” “Barbeque Dog,” and “When Colors Play” breathed new life into American music. On more than 15 albums and countless tours, I helped launch the careers of some of the most talented musicians in jazz, including Bill Frisell, Byard Lancaster, Billy Bang, James “Blood” Ulmer, Vernon Reid, Melvin Gibbs, Akbar Ali, Jef Lee Johnson, Robin Eubanks, Eric Person, and James Carter.” – Excerpt from


Ronald Shannon Jackson:

Drew Phelps:

The Kessler Theatre:

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