A much respected guitarist, composer and producer based in NYC, Ron
Jackson has cut a wide range of albums over the past couple decades.
Jackson is renowned for tastefully blending his love of rock, R&B,
World Beat, jazz, funk and even classical within the framework of
his sonic guitar sound. Subsequently, there aren't many styles of
music that Jackson hasnt covered on record. Moving forward on
his esteemed musical legacy, Jackson also released a 2011 CD from
his latest project, entitled Burning Gums. I
guess the title fits in well with the young lady on the cover of the
Burning Gums CD art, who looks like shes about to bite into
a red hot chili pepper. In contrast, the music on the Burning Gums
CD is quite cool actually with Jacksons smooth jazz instrumental
sound and vision getting suitable backing from Norbert Marius (bass)
and Matsu Hiroyuki (drums). All types of jazz guitar lovers
will completely dig this record which covers a wide range of styles
and soundsfrom smooth jazz to soul-jazz and fusion to Brazilian
style jazz samba. Even with so many instrumental guitar-based moves
on hand, the key here is the groove that Jackson and company brings
to the forefront on this thoroughly enjoyable instrumental guitar-centric
fusion CD. Coinciding with the release of his 2011 CD with
Burning Gums, NYC guitar hero Ron Jackson also has a companion
2011 CD rerelease of his 2009 album, Flubby Dubby.
Featuring a Hammond organ inspired group, and produced by Jackson
mentor Melvin Sparks, the Flubby Dubby CD was recorded
at a live Jackson date from West Orange, N.J. with the guitarist featuring
the core trio of Jackson, Kyle Koeler (organ) and Otis Brown
III (drums), along with a smoking horn section. Flubby Dubby
is another electrifying, uptown instrumental guitar fusion from
Ron Jackson. After six albums to his credit, each of these CDs accurately
portrays Ron Jackson as a vital fretboard force in the world of 21st
century jazz-rock. www.BurningGums.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3.com: Where did you grow up and what first drew you to the guitar?
JACKSON: My father was a Marine in the U.S. military, so we moved
all over the country. I was actually born in the Philippines, stayed
there on and off till I was 5, moved to a lot of states then finally
settled for high school near Boston. When I was in high school I had
friends who played guitar, mainly rock. So I started playing rock
guitar then got into jazz. I saw a lot of music when I was a kid from
heavy metal to jazz. I composed a lot of tunes as a kid, mainly rock
and instrumental folk.
mwe3.com: What were some of your earliest memories of studying guitar?
RJ: I was actually self-taught, I learned from friends. I really started
studying privately when I went to Berklee in Boston. I was actually
a jazz composition and arranging major at Berklee and consider myself
a composer and arranger first.
mwe3.com: What was your first guitar that you played or practiced
RJ: It was a Fender Jazzmaster.
mwe3.com: How would you compare your jazz guitar style with your appreciation
of the music of the Beatles and other giants of the post '60s rock
RJ: I would compare myself to Wes Montgomery, George Benson and Pat
Metheny. I like adapting popular tunes into jazz. I think good song
writing from any era can be adapted to jazz.
mwe3.com: Burning Gums and Flubby Dubby are your two
latest CD releases. What were some of the different approaches between
the your guitar styles and compositional styles on the two albums?
RJ: Flubby Dubby was based on the classic Hammond organ group
such as Jimmy Smith and Jimmy McGriff, who I played with. Flubby
Dubby is reminiscent of the funky James Brown groups with saxophonist
Maceo Parker and the group Soul Live. Also it is a reissue CD. I have
an independent label. The first cover and artwork was not very appealing.
I did decided to do it all over again, the right way. This is recorded
live featuring my soul-jazz originals and arrangements of popular
tunes and standards. My late mentor and teacher guitarist Melvin Sparks
produced this CD. My playing was more blues based, which Melvin recommended
that I play stylistically on the date on this session that was recorded
Gums is a collective band that I am part of with Norbert Marius -
bass (from Hungary) and Matsuura Hiroyuki - drums and percussion (from
Japan). Actually Norbert had hired me for local work in NYC. He had
Matsu on drums. We had great chemistry and so we decided to record
a CD. Our approach was fresh, spontaneous and adventurous. The musicians
on the CD are well versed on different styles. I contributed 4 songs
and the backing to make this group CD possible. You can hear how differently
I play on each session. I adapt my playing style according to each
situation that I perform in.
mwe3.com: Why did you call the album Burning Gums and can you
say something about that great cover art for the Burning Gums CD?
RJ: Actually the bassist, Norbert came up with everything, the name
of the group, he produced and mixed the CD, did all the artwork and
hired the model on the CD cover. I contributed 4 tunes and my guitar
mwe3.com: The cover of of Flubby Dubby is fantastic. Can you
say something about the cover art of your CDs? Are you a big fan of
album cover art?
RJ: My manager Steven Gardner (www.3rdalternative.com)
designed the album cover. He is a great photographer as well. I love
great album covers, the nicer or more unusual the cover, the more
people are attracted to the CD, even if they don't know the music
When did you start Roni Music and how many CDs have you released so
RJ: I started this little home label in 2002, with my first release,
The Dream I Had. I have three releases so far with a fourth,
I am trying to finish the mixes to my new acoustic guitar CD called
Akustik Adventures. I started this label because I wanted to be
independent from the record labels. I wanted to have complete control.
I plan to release at least 1 CD a year. I am always hired to record
or play as a sideman with someone...
mwe3.com: Can you say something about the guitars that you featured
on the Burning Gums and Flubby Dubby CDs?
RJ: On both is the exactly the same guitar, my 1993 Gibson L-5 Studio
modified with two Benedetto pickups, that I got from my pickup endorsement
with Seymour Duncan, with .014 George Benson Tomastik strings. My
guitar was mixed differently on each CD. On Burning Gums my
guitar was recorded direct, Nobert added effects after. On Flubby
Dubby, my guitar was played through my Fender Deluxe Amp with
2 mics, with just a little reverb.
mwe3.com: What are some of your favorite guitars that you own and
what new developments in the guitar world interests you most?
RJ: I love all my twelve guitars, but particularly my Gibson L-5 Studio,
my custom built Flyde acoustic steel string guitar from England, my
PRS hollow body and 516, and my Godin classical guitar. I don't really
keep up all the guitar developments. I just try to keep up with just
getting better as a musician so I can play the guitar well.
Thanks to Ron Jackson @ www.RonJacksonMusic.com