Jazz stars. Jack Jackson

Today, on the birthday of Jack Jackson, an English trumpeter, who became famous in the era of British dance orchestras and later became a popular disc jockey on the radio, the column "Jazz Stars" features a story about the life of the musician. Selection of musical compositions that he performed is posted in the museum Sound Library.

Jack Jackson was born on February 20, 1906 into the family of a musician, brass band conductor.  Jack began playing the cornet at the age of 11, studied violin and cello at home, and then entered the Royal Academy of Music, where he learnt to play the trumpet. He then played in dance orchestras and circuses, in ballrooms and on ocean liners.

In 1926, Jack Jackson joined Bert Railton’s Havana Band and went on a three-month tour of southern Africa, starting at Cape Town in October.

During this time, he also played in numerous bands and studio orchestras. In 1929, the musician joined Jack Payne that led the BBC Dance Orchestra and stayed there till 1933.

In 1933-1938, Jack formed his own band “Jack Jackson and his Orchestra” and started a five-year residency at the Dorchester Hotel in London. His signature tune was his own composition “Make Those People Sway”.

During the war he spent some years at the Ministry of Information drawing cartoons and he also worked as a band booker at Foster's Agency. He wasn't cut out to work behind a desk, it seems, and he made a comeback with a new band at Churchill's in February 1947. He followed this with some theatre work and a spell at the Potomac in October 1947, after which he gave up band leading to compere a BBC big-band series called "Band Parade". The following year he was given his own late-night record show called "Record Round Up". This was in June 1948 and it ran for over 20 years making him a household name all over again with a new generation and an audience of 12 million. He also broadcast regularly for Decca on Radio Luxembourg and made many TV appearances, and hosted his own chat-show on ITV in September 1955. In between times he compered band shows at theatres and even appeared as a solo variety act. He emigrated to Teneriffe in 1962, building himself an elaborate recording studio where he recorded his radio shows, flying them to London by jet-plane every week.

In 1973, aged 67, he became seriously ill with a bronchial complaint associated with playing the trumpet, which was aggravated by the climate in the Canary Islands. He returned to Rickmansworth, where his two sons ran their own recording studio in the historic mansion which used to belong to Jack. He had apparently aged tremendously, all his energy sapped by the emphysema. He made a remarkable recovery, however, and presented a new radio program in 1975, "The Jack Jackson Show", (I wonder who thought that one up), although he had to rely a lot on the use of an electrical air-compressor for his breathing. For two years he was back on top, but then his health deteriorated. His humor survived, however. When “Melody Maker” journalist Chris Hayes wrote to him in 1977 asking for an interview, he replied "Sorry, I'm unable to give you an interview as my respiratory organs are not blowing too well of late. It's alright as long as I don't breathe; in fact, I'm thinking of giving it up altogether, but the appalling funeral expenses put me off".

Jack died in 1978, just short of his 72nd birthday. He left behind Eve, his wife of 45 years, (who he met in South Africa on his tour with Bert Ralton), and three children, Malcolm, John and Gillian.

Ref.: http://www.mgthomas.co.uk/dancebands/Musicians/MusicianPages/Jack%20Jackson.htm