Milt Jackson (b. 1 January 1923 - d. 9 October 1999) is one of the most influential vibraphonists ever to play the instrument. Before Jackson, only Lionel Hampton and Red Norvo found success on the vibes.

Jackson was born on New Year's Day in Detroit, Michigan. Music was a part of his life from early on. At the age of seven, his older brother and he performed as a gospel duo. He began to study piano, but after hearing the great Lionel Hampton he took up the vibraphone.

Bebop was new at the time Jackson started cutting his teeth in the music scene, so of course he digested a steady diet of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker solos. In 1946 Jackson was invited to join Gillespie's big band and his career was made.

Late in the 1940's, the Milt Jackson Quartet (or MJQ) was formed with Jackson and what was was Gillespie's rhythm section at the time: John Lewis on piano, Ray Brown on bass, and Kenny Clarke on drums. Things became a little more democratic when, in 1952, the name changed to the Modern Jazz Quartet - still MJQ! - with John Lewis taking on the leadership. Percy Heath replaced Ray Brown in 1952 and Connie Kay replaced Clarke in 1955. The MJQ was one of the longest lived musical collaborations, existing until their break-up in 1974 (notwithstanding occasional reunion gigs).

In addition to his work with the MJQ, Jackson recorded with many marque names, not limited to John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Coleman Hawkins, and Ray Charles, as well as several records as a leader. He also picked up the nickname Bags, evidenced by the ubiquitous performances of his blues Bags' Groove.

Jackson died in 1999 of liver cancer. His influence lives on in the music of Bobby Hutcherson and Gary Burton and others.

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