David Nicholas George Jackson (born 15 April 1947), nicknamed Jaxon,
is an English progressive rock saxophonist, flautist, and composer. He
is best known for his work with the band Van der Graaf Generator and his
work in Music and Disability. He has worked with artists including
Peter Gabriel, Keith Tippett and Howard Moody. Jackson was a member of
Van der Graaf Generator for most of the 1970s and for their 2005 reunion
tour. His specialty was then electric saxophones, using octave devices,
wah-wah and powerful amplification.
His saxophone-playing is characterized by the frequent use of double
horns, playing two saxophones at the same time, a style he copied from
Rahsaan Roland Kirk (whose style and technique influenced Jackson). He
also plays flutes and whistles. In the NME reviewer Jonathan Barnett
called David Jackson "the Van Gogh of the saxophone - a renegade
impressionist, dispensing distorted visions of the world outside from
his private asylum window".
In addition to his work in Van der Graaf Generator, Jackson has
collaborated with other musicians (frequently with other members of Van
der Graaf Generator, as on The Long Hello project). He collaborated on a
number of projects with Van der Graaf Generator co-founder Judge Smith.
Jackson works often with Italian rock musicians, most particularly Alex
Carpani Band from Bologna and Osanna from Naples.
Jackson attended the University of St Andrews, reading psychology, and
University of Surrey, Roehampton, studying teaching. He has worked as a
mathematics teacher for primary children in the UK. He has also worked
with physically and mentally disabled people, enabling them to make
music through the use of a technology known as Soundbeam. He is also a
Soundbeam trainer, system designer and builder. A documentary about his
work with autistic children was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1998.
Tonewall is the name for his idea. Apart from Soundbeams this also
features Echo-Mirrors and Jellybean Eye. Jackson works together with
groups of people of all levels of ability and even profound disability
to create music together on stage, accompanied by musicians from diverse
styles, such as orchestral and jazz musicians, Caribbean music, and
much more. In 2012 and 2013 he is on tour in the European and American
continents with the Italian Alex Carpani Band.
David Jackson was born in Stamford, Lincolnshire. His daughter is singer
Dorie Jackson, who works with Chris Difford, Francis Dunnery and
William Topley among others. His son is recording engineer Jake Jackson.