09.08.2022 | Artist
“Jack gave me a deep groove that I just loved to play over.” – Miles Davis
On August 9, legendary drummer (and occasional pianist) JackDeJohnette – who has logged more studio time for ECM than any other musician for over five decades – turns 80 years old.
His first appearance on the label was on Ruta & Daitya, a duet with Keith Jarrett, with whom Jack had already played in Charles Lloyd’s band and Miles Davis’s. Numerous recordings with Jarrett since then have included many albums with the much-loved ‘Standards Trio’ completed by Gary Peacock. Jack has led a series of distinguished groups of his own at ECM beginning with Directions, followed by New Directions and Special Edition. Special Edition’s recordings, with line-ups including David Murray, Arthur Blythe, Chico Freeman, John Purcell, Howard Johnson and Baikida Carroll, were reprised in ECM’s Old & New Masters box set series to great critical acclaim.
Jack also co-led the Gateway trio with John Abercrombie and Dave Holland (albums Gateway, Gateway 2, Homecoming, In The Moment), and has recorded with frequent musical partner John Surman (The Amazing Adventures of Simon Simon, Invisible Nature, Free And Equal, Brewster’s Rooster). DeJohnette’s unique solo album Pictures stands as a classic amongst the early ECM recordings, a marvellous account of Jack’s painterly approach to drums and cymbals. He has furthermore appeared on numerous ECM sessions, including albums by Kenny Wheeler, Collin Walcott, John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny, George Adams, Jan Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Gary Peacock, Bill Connors, Ralph Towner, Mick Goodrick, and Anouar Brahem.
On recent leader albums Made in Chicago and In Movement, the drummer embraced his musical past while simultaneously looking to the future.
With Made In Chicago, Jack DeJohnette celebrated a reunion with old friends. More than 50 years ago, DeJohnette, Roscoe Mitchell and Henry Threadgill were all classmates at Wilson Junior College on Chicago’s Southside, pooling energies and enthusiasms in jam sessions. Shortly thereafter Jack joined Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band, and Roscoe and Henry soon followed him. When Abrams co-founded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in 1965, DeJohnette, Mitchell and Threadgill were involved from the outset, presenting concerts and contributing to each other’s work under the AACM umbrella. Jack then relocated to New York, but remained a frequent visitor and collaborator.
As a young drummer in the mid-1960s, Jack also had the opportunity to sit in with John Coltrane’s group. With the album In Movement (2016), DeJohnette introduced a new trio with Coltrane’s son Ravi on saxes and Matthew Garrison, son of Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison on bass guitar, underlining a lifelong commitment to creative music making, and continuing to take the tradition forward.
Many happy returns, Jack!