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Anthony Jackson (musician)

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Anthony Jackson
Jackson in 2007 playing a Contrabass Guitar
Jackson in 2007 playing a Contrabass Guitar
Background information
Birth nameAnthony Claiborne Jackson
Born (1952-06-23) June 23, 1952 (age 71)
New York City, USA
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, R&B, funk
Instrument(s)Bass guitar
Years active1970–present

Anthony Jackson (born June 23, 1952) is an American bassist. Described as "one of the masters of the instrument",[1] he has performed as a session musician and live artist. He is also credited with the development of the modern six-string bass, which he refers to as a contrabass guitar.


Jackson touring the Netherlands with Al Di Meola in 1978

Jackson played piano before starting guitar in his teens.[2] When he turned to bass guitar, he was inspired by James Jamerson and Jack Casady.[2][3] Jackson worked as a session musician, in the Billy Paul band, and with Philadelphia International Records.[2] Paul’s 1972 hit "Me and Mrs. Jones" was Jackson’s first No. 1 record. His performance on "For the Love of Money" by The O'Jays helped move the song to No. 9 on the pop chart and No. 3 on the R&B chart in 1974.[2]

Jackson is a student of Jerry Fisher, Lawrence Lucie, and Pat Martino. He has performed live in more than 30 countries and has recorded in more than 3000 sessions on more than 500 albums.[4]

In 2016 Jackson had to miss some performances with Hiromi, due to ill health.[5]

Six-string contrabass guitar[edit]

Danelectro (1956), Fender (1961) and other manufacturers had produced six-string basses tuned one octave below a guitar (EADGBE), and Jackson had briefly played a Fender five-string bass tuned EADGC. Jackson first approached various luthiers in 1974 about the construction of his idea for a “contrabass guitar” tuned in fourths BEADGC, and Carl Thompson built the first six-string for Jackson in 1975.[6] He first performed on the Thompson-built bass in 1975, recording with Carlos Garnett and touring with Roberta Flack.[7] He later approached luthier Ken Smith to build him a six string bass before finally playing instruments made by New York-based bass makers, Fodera.

Jackson said that the idea for adding more strings to the bass guitar came from his frustration with its limited range. When asked what he thought of criticism of the six-string bass, Jackson replied,

Why is four [strings] the standard and not six? As the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family, the instrument should have had six strings from the beginning. The only reason it had four was because Leo Fender was thinking in application terms of an upright bass, but he built it along guitar lines because that was his training. The logical conception for the bass guitar encompasses six strings.[8]

From 1982 onwards Jackson has almost exclusively played a contrabass guitar. Prior to 1982 his main instruments included a 1973 Fender Precision Bass, a 1973 Fender Jazz bass fitted with a 1975 Precision neck, and a Gibson EB-2D bass. In 1984 Fodera introduced their first Anthony Jackson Signature Model contrabass, followed in 1989 with a single cutaway model, the “Anthony Jackson Presentation Contrabass Guitar”.[9]


As co-leader[edit]

As studio musician or guest[edit]

With Patti Austin

With Alex Bugnon

  • This Time Around (Epic, 1993)
  • Tales from the Bright Side (RCA, 1995)
  • As Promised (Narada, 2000)

With Michel Camilo

With Jorge Dalto

  • Rendez-Vous (Eastworld, 1983)
  • New York Nightline (Eastworld, 1984)
  • Listen Up! (Gaia 1988)

With Leslie Mándoki

  • People in Room No. 8 (PolyGram, 1997)
  • Soulmates (Paroli, 2002)
  • Out of Key...with the Time (Sony, 2002)
  • Legends of Rock (Paroli, 2005)
  • Aquarelle (NEO, 2009)
  • BudaBest (Sony, 2013)

With Al Di Meola

With Will Downing

With Roberta Flack

With Carlos Franzetti

  • New York Toccata (Verve, 1985)
  • Tropic of Capricorn (Square Discs 1993)
  • Grafitti (Sonorama, 2007)

With Jun Fukamachi

  • Spiral Steps (Kitty, 1976)
  • The Sea of Dirac (Kitty, 1977)
  • Evening Star (Kitty, 1978)
  • Live (Alfa, 1978)
  • On the Move (Alfa, 1978)

With Eric Gale

  • Ginseng Woman (Columbia, 1977)
  • Multiplication (Columbia, 1977)
  • Part of You (Columbia, 1979)

With Terumasa Hino

  • City Connection (Flying Disk, 1979)
  • Daydream (Flying Disk, 1980)
  • Double Rainbow (CBS/Sony, 1981)

With Garland Jeffreys

With Chaka Khan

With Steve Khan

  • Eyewitness (Antilles, 1981)
  • Modern Times (Trio, 1982)
  • Casa Loco (Antilles, 1984)
  • Helping Hand (Polydor, 1987)
  • Public Access (GRP, 1990)
  • Headline (Polydor, 1992)
  • Crossings (PolyGram, 1994)
  • The Suitcase: Live in Koln '94 (ESC, 2008)
  • Parting Shot (ESC, 2011)

With Tania Maria

  • Made in New York (Manhattan, 1985)
  • The Lady from Brazil (Manhattan, 1986)
  • Bela Vista (World Pacific, 1990)
  • Europe (Pee Wee Music, 1997)

With Harvey Mason

  • Earthmover (Arista, 1976)
  • Funk in a Mason Jar (Arista, 1977)
  • Stone Mason (Alfa, 1982)

With Michel Petrucciani

  • Music (Blue Note, 1989)
  • Playground (Blue Note, 1991)
  • Both Worlds (Dreyfus, 1997)
  • Trio in Tokyo (Dreyfus, 1999)

With Buddy Rich

With Lee Ritenour

With Mike Stern

With Hiromi Uehara

With Grover Washington Jr.

With others


  1. ^ "Anthony Jackson : Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d Hogan, Ed. "Anthony Jackson". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  3. ^ Bass Player magazine, Spring 1990 issue, USA
  4. ^ The liner notes from album "INTERSPIRIT" 2010, Abstract Logix, LBLX020
  5. ^ "Anthony Jackson Forced to Sit Out Hiromi Trio Performances". Notreble.com. 28 July 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  6. ^ "Partners: Anthony Jackson & Fodera Guitars - Bass Magazine - The Future of Bass". Bassmagazine.com. 23 July 2019. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  7. ^ "Anthony Jackson - Contrabass Conception" (PDF). Melvinleedavis.com. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  8. ^ Jisi, Chris (2003). Brave New Bass. Backbeat Books. p. 19. ISBN 0-87930-763-3.
  9. ^ "Anthony Jackson Presentation Custom Bass - Custom Bass Guitars | Fodera Guitars". Archived from the original on 2019-12-18. Retrieved 2019-12-18.

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