Javon Jackson ’87 to Lead Berklee Student Sextet for Masters on the Road Series

Tori Donahue
April 24, 2018
Press release
Javon Jackson B.M. '87 will tour with a Berklee group for the Masters on the Road series this spring.
Image Courtesy of Javon Jackson

Berklee’s Masters on the Road series, where master alumni musicians return to campus to teach and lead a touring ensemble, continues for its sixth year with tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson B.M. ’87. Javon Jackson’s Berklee Sextet will perform at Regattabar in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Thursday, May 10; Side Door in Old Lyme, Connecticut, on Friday, May 11; the Jazz Loft in Stony Brook, New York, on Saturday, May 12; and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York City on Monday, May 14.

Jackson is known for his recordings and performances with the legendary group Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He has released 14 recordings as a bandleader, and has performed with a variety of jazz legends including Elvin Jones, Ben E. King, Ron Carter, Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Haden, Betty Carter, and more. He has also recorded six albums of his own, his most recent being 2015’s Expression. In addition to his performance schedule, Jackson is a highly sought-after jazz educator, conducting clinics and lectures at universities throughout the United States and abroad; he is currently director of the Jackie McLean Institute at the University of Hartford. Jackson also serves as a jazz panelist for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and as a member of the Jazz Education Network.

Javon Jackson’s Berklee Sextet includes Milena Casado (Lanaja, Spain) on trumpet; Amir Lee (Houston, Texas) on alto saxophone; Garyfallia Kerkezou (Nikaia Piraeus, Greece) on drums; Youngchae Jeong (Seoul, South Korea) on bass; and Thomas Beuf (Sceaux, France) on piano. Ron Savage, dean of the Professional Performance Division, assisted in selecting the group, and Ensembles associate professor Ron Mahdi rehearsed with the band on a weekly basis. Jackson visited the class in early April to rehearse with the group ahead of their tour.

“I am thrilled to be back at Berklee, and am excited to be traveling with such a talented group of students,” said Jackson. “We will perform the songbook of Miles Davis and Art Blakey to celebrate the legacy of these great artists.”

This is the sixth year of the Masters on the Road program, in which star Berklee alumni mentor and rehearse with top Berklee student performers, and then take them on tour. In 2013, jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut B.M. ’85 performed with a student sextet in New York and Washington, D.C. In 2014, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison ’81 toured with a student group to clubs in New York and Connecticut. Jazz trumpeter Ingrid Jensen B.M. ’89 led a group of students on a five-date tour, which included performances in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia, in 2015. In 2016, jazz saxophonist and David Bowie collaborator Donny McCaslin B.M. ’88 toured with a student quartet throughout New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and New York. Last year, saxophonist and bandleader Chris Cheek B.M. ’91 toured with his student quintet through Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, and New Hampshire.