Jazz Monthly: My next guest is the perfect example of the effulgence of great music. He is a young artist with a phat sax sound. He has a wonderful new project, it is called Listening Pleasure, and you must hear this great project. He is the pride of Tulsa, Oklahoma, he is a great friend of Wayman Tisdale, and wait until you hear these two cats together on this record. It is something to hear and feel. Please welcome this uninhibited sax player Mr. Eldredge Jackson. Eldredge, how ya doin’, my friend?
Eldredge Jackson (EJ): Oh, just great, man. How are you doing, man?
Jazz Monthly: I’m peaceful, thank you. Hey, and I’m loving this record, man, wow. This is your debut album and when I hear a debut album this good, I always say “What took him so long? He should’ve had four of these out. We love this.” (Both laugh.)
EJ: Oh, well, thank you, man. Thanks so much for the compliment. We’re very pleased with this being the debut project and just having such a wonderful producer like Wayman Tisdale, who has been in the industry. I was very fortunate to be able to have him working with me as a close friend and as a confidant, and so this project, man, I’m just blown away myself
Jazz Monthly: Yes, and my sentiments exactly because, Wayman is a very giving person, he’s talented on all levels, and I always love it when a great artist gives something back and puts a fresh new sound out there as yourself, and let’s give him such props for what he has done for the industry and for so many artists around the country.
EJ: Absolutely, absolutely. I just had a good chance to watch him develop being in the same town, transitioning from the great sports figure to the musical genius that he has become, and it’s been great to just watch that transpire.
Jazz Monthly: Absolutely, and he’s never forgotten where he came from.
Jazz Monthly: He’s always had a wonderful personality, and how do you beat that smile? (Both laugh.)
EJ: That’s his trademark. If you know Wayman, that smile comes along with it, man. That’s part of Wayman.
Jazz Monthly: True that.. Well, talk to me about your early days in Oklahoma because you’re Central America.
Jazz Monthly: And when we think about jazz, we think about the South and then some transitioning to some of the larger metropolitan areas around the country, and then for this great record to come out of Central America, just talk about how you developed your love for music period and jazz especially.
EJ: Well, actually, my story is unique in and of itself in that at the age of four, at the time I was living in New Orleans, Louisiana, which is my native state. I was born in New Orleans but we transitioned to Oklahoma when I had just turned five—in fact, on my fifth birthday—but at the age of four I remember going to a musical church convention and there was a saxophonist that was hailed the king of gospel saxophone by the name of Vernard Johnson, and I remember at four years old pointing to the stage and telling my mom that I’m gonna be like that guy someday, and that’s really how I even had my first experience of knowing that I wanted to play saxophone—and I play several other instruments, but the saxophone is really my true love.
Once I had a chance to come to Oklahoma, my father had pastored a number of years, and that’s kind of the relationship even with Wayman and I. Wayman’s father, he was the pastor of a great congregation, and so my father and Wayman’s father being in the same church circle, we had that church background, and playing in church, that’s kind of where I developed my style. Even though it’s categorized as smooth jazz, I say it’s a musical gumbo of smooth jazz, gospel and traditional jazz, and when you put those three combinations together, I think that’s where it gets its sound from, so it’s kind of unique in a way because it’s smooth jazz but I call it jazz with an edge, so that’s pretty much where I developed my style.