|Birth name||John Joseph Kelson Jr.|
February 27, 1922|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Died||April 28, 2012
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, rock, pop|
|Instruments||Saxophone, flute, clarinet|
Born in Los Angeles, California, Kelson was the eldest child of John Joseph Kelson Sr. and Lillian (née Weinberg) Kelson.
He began taking clarinet lessons at age eight, studying with Caughey Roberts. At fifteen, Jefferson High School classmate Chico Hamilton urged him to take up the alto saxophone, and he made his professional debut with Jerome Myart that same year. By the time he graduated from Jefferson, he was playing with Hamilton, Buddy Collette, and Charles Mingus at clubs on Central Avenue.
In the 1940s he played with Barney Bigard, Marshal Royal, Lucky Thompson, Kid Ory, Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, and Roy Milton. He enlisted in the Navy in October 1942 with Marshal and Ernie Royal, and, after training at Camp Robert Smalls, he was stationed with the Royals with the St Mary's College Pre-Flight School band.
In the 1950s he also performed with Johnny Otis, Billy Vaughan, Nelson Riddle, Bill Berry, Ray Anthony, the Capp-Pierce Juggernaut, Bob Crosby, C.L. Burke, and Duke Ellington. He joined Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps in 1958 and was featured on several fine recordings from that period, including Say Mama, She She Little Sheila and Ac-centu-ate the Positive. He worked as a studio musician between 1964 and 1984, in addition to recording with Mercer Ellington and Mink DeVille, touring worldwide with Hampton, Ellington, and Vaughan, and appearing in The Concert for Bangladesh.
Kelso semi-retired from music in 1984, but returned to performance in 1995 with the Count Basie Orchestra, where he became a regular in 1998. He reverted to his birth name of Kelson that year as well. He died on April 28, 2012, in Beverly Hills, California, aged 90.
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2012)|
With Oliver Nelson
- Skull Session (Flying Dutchman, 1975)
With Lalo Schifrin
- Gone with the Wave (Colpix, 1964)
With Gerald Wilson
- Detroit (Mack Avenue, 2009)
- Isoardi, Steven L. "Central Avenue Sounds: Jackie Kelso". Calisphere. University of California. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- Feather, Leonard; Gitler, Ira (2007). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz. Oxford University Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-0195320008.
- Royal, Marshal; Gordon, Claire P. (1996). Marshal Royal: Jazz Survivor. London, UK: Cassell. ISBN 0826458041.
- Concert for Bangladesh (booklet). Apple Records. 1971.
- de Heer, Dik. "Jackie Kelso Profile". Blackcat Rockabilly Europe. Retrieved February 28, 2016.
- "Jackie Kelso biography". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved February 28, 2016.