Jackson made two widely reviewed but somewhat constrained CDs for RCA before returning to his old Canadian label, Justin Time, on which he promptly released a trio recording, Sigame. In many ways this work is the culmination of the opening chapters in Jackson's musical life. There is a sense of freedom and control that was absent from the RCA recordings, as well as an irresistible joy in creating music that jumps right out of the speakers. The title means "Follow me" in Spanish, and the CD is permeated by Latin rhythms and romantic gestures. There are no standards here, only Jackson's own compositions, and the various pieces fall together into a larger emotional structure that is supported by strong rhythmic propulsion. Jackson has expressed a fondness for Keith Jarrett, with whom he shares a broad-hearted romantic spirit. I am more moved by Jackson, though, because his emotional outpourings have more discipline and are more adventurous, combining classic modern jazz with avant-garde sonorities and complex rhythms.
Most of the pieces on Sigame are performed by Jackson, bassist Ugonna Okegwo, and drummer Dafnis Prieto, a trio that practically stole the show at this year's Ford Detroit Jazz Festival. Jackson and Prieto return to the area, this time with Hans Glawischnig on bass, to play at the Bird of Paradise on Friday and Saturday, December 6 and 7.
[Originally published in December, 2002.]