In Memoriam: Paul Jackson

Paul Jackson

Today, we’re very sad to report the loss of another bass legend. Paul Jackson, who changed the face of jazz and funk bass, has passed away at his home in Japan. A cause of death has not been announced. He was 73 years old.

The news was shared by his close friend and drummer, Mike Clark. “I am profoundly grief stricken. My Brother and best friend in this life Paul Jackson passed away this morning (evening Japan time),” he wrote on Facebook. “I will miss you beyond any words that I can express but I will see you again and again and again. God Really Did Make You Funky My Brother…I remember everything we did and every word we said. Rest up, you are a warrior larger than life, a genius musician and innovator and a Gentle Giant in every way who loved people! I Love You Paul!!!!”

Jackson was born in Oakland, California, and picked up the bass when he was just nine years old. A child prodigy, he was performing with the Oakland Symphony by age fourteen and went on to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

In the early ’70s, Jackson hooked up with Herbie Hancock for a fruitful musical relationship that took them through the decade. The bassist played on the groundbreaking Head Hunters album as well as several more Hancock classics: Thrust, Man-Child, and VSOP, to name a few. It was also here that he began working with drummer Mike Clark. Together they influenced a new generation of jazz and funk musicians.

Jackson and Clark would take the Headhunters name and put out more of their own music. He also turned to performing more film music, appearing on the soundtracks to “Death Wish” and “Dirty Harry.”

Aside from more work with artists ranging from The Pointer Sisters to Santana, Jackson began his solo career with 1978’s Black Octopus. He ultimately released five albums as a leader, the final being 2014’s incredible Groove or Die.

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Paul Jackson.

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Leave a Reply to Yancie Taylor Cancel reply

  1. Ken Boddie

    Paul Jackson former Bassist with Herbie Hancock

    He and use to hang out in 1977, one of my mentor bassist’s, and eat Ice cream at Old Uncle Gaylord ice creamery on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland CA., after studio work.

    I met him at the Different Fur Studio in San Francisco CA, recording Coke Escoveda’s album – Disco Fantasy, thanks to now music producer Wesley Johnson, formerly from Pittsburg, CA.


    My Bass Brother

    Ken Boddie
    Bass Guitar
    Pinole, CA

  2. Yancie Taylor

    I am sadden to hear the passing of Paul Jackson’s, may he R.I.P. In 1994 it was an honor to go to Japan to play some gigs with Paul and Babe Hanna and stay at Akiko and Paul’s apartment in Tokyo. He will be missed and condolences to his family.