Cliff Jackson (musician)

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Cliff Jackson
Cliff Jackson 1947 by Gottlieb.jpg
Cliff Jackson at the piano in 1947. Photo by William P. Gottlieb.
Background information
Born(1902-07-19)July 19, 1902
Culpeper, Virginia, United States
DiedMay 24, 1970(1970-05-24) (aged 67)

Clifton Luther "Cliff" Jackson (July 19, 1902, Culpeper, Virginia – May 24, 1970,[1] New York City) was an American jazz stride pianist.


After playing in Atlantic City, Jackson moved to New York City in 1923,[2] where he played with Lionel Howard's Musical Aces in 1924 and recorded with Bob Fuller and Elmer Snowden. He led his own ensemble, the Krazy Kats, for recordings in 1930, and following this group's dissolution he played extensively as a solo pianist in nightclubs in New York.[2] During this time he also accompanied singers such as Viola McCoy, Lena Wilson, Sara Martin, Martha Copeland, Helen Gross, and Clara Smith. He recorded with Sidney Bechet in 1940-41,[2] and recorded as a soloist or leader in 1944-45, 1961, and 1969. As house pianist at Cafe Society from 1943-51 he was a great success; he also toured with Eddie Condon in 1946. He also played with Garvin Bushell (1950), J.C. Higginbotham (1960), and Joe Thomas (1962).

Musical style[edit]

As shown by many of his 1944-1945 solo piano recordings, such as "Limehouse Blues", Jackson was one of the most powerful stride piano players.[2] His style was also marked by a contrapuntal-like bass work.[citation needed] His many left hand techniques are found explained in detail in Riccardo Scivales's method Jazz Piano: The Left Hand (Bedford Hills, New York: Ekay Music, 2005).

Personal life[edit]

Jackson was married to the singer Maxine Sullivan from 1950 until his death from heart failure in 1970.[2]


With Lonnie Johnson


  1. ^ Doc Rock. "The 1970s". The Dead Rock Stars Club. Retrieved 2016-09-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e Scott Yanow. "Cliff Jackson | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-09-25.