Ali Jackson Jr. was born into a supportive family for his early talent with the drums. As a child, musical outings with his father in Detroit ingrained both the ensemble esthetic to his playing, along with an open spirit. Early piano study laid the foundation for his melodic approach to the drums. Jackson, enriched by his high school environment at Cass Technical High School (alma mater to players Paul Chambers, Donald Byrd, Harry Harris and Geri Allen) won numerous recognitions and scholarships, and was selected as a soloist for the "Beacons Of Jazz" concert that honored legend Max Roach at New School University. Having completed his music education at the Mannes College of Music in composition at the New School University, Jackson expanded his vocabulary with private study with master teachers Joe Chambers, Charlie Persip, Chico Hamilton and Max Roach.
Jackson has performed and recorded extensively with some of the worldâ€™s finest musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aretha Franklin, Marcus Roberts, Gerald Albright, George Benson, Eric Reed, KRS-1, Russell Gunn, Buster Williams, Cyrus Chestnut, Chris McBride, James Moody, Vinx, Marcus Printup, Nicolas Payton, Milt Hinton and the New York City Ballet. Jackson led an ensemble that honored the musical contributions of Max Roach, which featured the great Albert "Tootie" Heath and drumming legend Billy Hart for Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 2002-03 season. Most recently Jackson shared his production talent on George Benson’s new GRP release Irreplaceable. Jackson is also featured on the Wynton Marsalis Quartet debut Blue Note recording The Magic Hour scheduled for release in spring 2004.
Demonstrating his commitment to education for young people, Jackson has been part of Young Audiences, a program that educates New York City youth about jazz. He also works with young people through his relationships with Jazz at Lincoln Center,"The Jazz House Kids" program (founded by Melissa Walker), as well as various individual endeavors and events internationally. In addition to being regarded as one as one of the world’s most accomplished percussionists, his reputation as a versatile and highly proficient composer is expanding with recent scores for television and films including the Fox TV drama "New York Undercover". Currently, you can find Jackson featured with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Joshua Redman trio, Ali Jackson Quartet, or "phenom ensemble" Horns in the Hood.