Jack DeJohnette Group
@ the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
16 November 2012
Click an image to enlarge.
Born in Chicago in 1942, Jack DeJohnette is widely
regarded as one of jazz music’s greatest drummers. He studied
classical piano from age four until fourteen before beginning to
play drums with his high school concert band and taking private
piano lessons at the Chicago conservatory of music. In his early
years on the Chicago scene, DeJohnette led his own groups and was
equally in demand as a pianist and as a drummer. He played R &
B, hard bop, and avant-garde and was active with the experimentalists
of the AACM in its early days, with the likes of founder Muhal Richard
Abrams, Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman. In 1966, he drummed alongside
Rashied Ali in the John Coltrane Quintet. International recognition
came with his tenure in the Charles Lloyd Quartet, one of the first
jazz groups to receive cross-over attention, also alerting the world
to Keith Jarrett's skills.
DeJohnette has collaborated with most major figures
in jazz history. Some of the great talents he has worked with are
John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Sun
Ra, Jackie McLean, Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Keith
Jarrett, Chet Baker, George Benson, Stanley Turrentine, Ron Carter,
Lee Morgan, Charles Lloyd, Herbie Hancock, Dave Holland, Joe Henderson,
Freddie Hubbard, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter and Eddie Harris, who
is responsible for convincing DeJohnette to stick with drums because
he heard DeJohnette’s natural talent. It was in 1968 that
DeJohnette joined Miles Davis’s group in time for the epochal
upheaval marked by “Bitches Brew”, an album that changed
the direction of jazz. Jarrett soon followed DeJohnette into the
Davis group, and the drummer's first ECM recording, the duet “Rutya
and Daitya” was made in 1971. Working with Miles also brought
about collaborations with John McLaughlin, Chick Corea and Dave
Holland. In 1968 he recorded his first album as a leader on the
Milestone label, called “The DeJohnette Complex”, where
Jack played melodica along with his mentor Roy Haynes on drums.
In the early 70’s he recorded two albums
for Prestige, called “Sorcery” and “Cosmic Chicken”.
These early sessions united Jack with Gary Peacock, Bennie Maupin,
Stanley Cowell, Miroslav Vitous, Eddie Gomez, Alex Foster and Peter
Warren. Later DeJohnette began to record as a leader for ECM. He
has since recorded as a leader for several record labels including,
Columbia, Landmark, MCA/GRP, and Toshiba/EMI/Blue Note. He is also
known for his cutting edge collaborations with the likes of Herbie
Hancock, Pat Metheny and Bobby McFerrin to name a few.
DeJohnette has received many awards for his music,
including, the prestigious French Grand Prix du Disque and Charles
Cros award for “New Directions” in 1979. “Audio-Visualscapes”
became album of the year in the Downbeat annual critics’ poll
1989. “Parallel Realities” won album of the year in
Japan. In 1991, “Earth Walk” won album of the year and
recording of the year in Japan. DeJohnette has been awarded an Honorary
Doctorate of Music from Berkley College of Music in Boston in 1991.
There is an extensive list of awards for drumming, including at
least 15 years of the Downbeat polls, the NY Jazz awards, and the
Jazz Central on line awards along with many international awards.
As well as his previous credentials, DeJohnette
has also composed soundtracks for both TV and video. He has enjoyed
a cameo appearance as a member of the “Alligator Blues Band”
in the Blues Brothers 2000 movie.
Jack DeJohnette’s wide-ranging style, capable
of playing in any idiom while still maintaining a well-defined voice
keeps him in constant demand as a sideman. He continues to collaborate,
push boundaries and record with many other music legends.