David Jackson (rock musician)

David Jackson (rock musician)
David Jackson

David Nicholas George Jackson (born 15 April 1947, Stamford, Lincolnshire), nicknamed Jaxon, is a British progressive rock saxophonist, flautist, and composer. He is best known for his work with the band Van der Graaf Generator and his work in Music and Disability.[1][2] He has worked with artists including Peter Gabriel, Keith Tippett and Howard Moody.


Van der Graaf Generator

Jackson was a member for most of the 1970s and for their 2005 reunion tour. His specialty was then electric saxophones, using octave devices, wah-wah and powerful amplification.


His saxophone-playing is characterized by the frequent use of double horns, playing two saxophones at the same time, a style he copied from Rahsaan Roland Kirk (whose style and technique influenced Jackson).[3] He also plays flutes and whistles. In the NME reviewer Jonathan Barnett called David Jackson "the Van Gogh of the saxophone - a renegade impressionist, dispensing distorted visions of the world outside from his private asylum window".[4]

David Jackson

Other work

In addition to his work in Van der Graaf Generator, Jackson has collaborated with other musicians (frequently with other members of Van der Graaf Generator, as on The Long Hello project). He collaborated on a number of projects with Van der Graaf Generator co-founder Judge Smith. Jackson works often with Italian rock musicians, most particularly Osanna from Naples.

Jackson attended the University of St Andrews, reading psychology,[5] and University of Surrey, Roehampton, studying teaching. He has worked as a mathematics teacher for primary children in the UK.[6]

He has also worked with physically and mentally disabled people, enabling them to make music through the use of a technology known as Soundbeam.[7][8] He is also a Soundbeam trainer, system designer and builder.[9]

Tonewall is the name for his idea. Apart from Soundbeams this also features Echo-Mirrors and Jellybean Eye. Jackson works together with groups of people of all levels of ability and even profound disability to create music together on stage, accompanied by musicians from diverse styles, such as orchestral and jazz musicians, Caribbean music, and much more.[9]


His daughter is singer Dorie Jackson, who works with Chris Difford, Francis Dunnery and William Topley among others. His son is recording engineer Jake Jackson.[10]


As band member of Van der Graaf Generator


  • Savages (cassette) (1990)
  • Hazard Dream Sequence (EP) (1991)
  • Tonewall Stands (1992)
  • Fractal Bridge (1996)


  • Guastalla - Live Tonewall & Soundbeam (2003)

With Peter Hammill

With The Long Hello

  • The Long Hello (Hugh Banton, Guy Evans, David Jackson; 1973)
  • The Long Hello Volume Two (Nic Potter, Guy Evans; 1981)
  • The Long Hello Volume Three (David Jackson, Guy Evans; 1982)
  • The Long Hello Volume Four (David Jackson, Guy Evans, Life of Riley; 1983)

With Judge Smith

  • DemocraZy (1991)
  • The House That Cried (live choral work, premiere 28 Oct 1993)
  • Curly's Airships (2000)
  • Twinkle (stage musical, premiere 11 July 2007)
  • "The Light of the World/I Don't Know What I'm Doing" (single, as The Tribal Elders, 2007)
  • Orfeas (2011)[11]

Other collaborations

  • Come un vecchio incensiere all'alba di un villaggio deserto (with Alan Sorrenti, 1973)
  • Dinner At The Ritz (with City Boy, 1976)
  • "The Night Has A Thousand Eyes" / "Something Tells Me" (single with Jakko Jakszyk, 1982)
  • "Straining Our Eyes" / "Fall To Pieces" (single with Jakko Jakszyk, 1982)
  • "Grab What You Can" / "Tell Me" / "Would I Be The Same" / "I'd Never Have Known" (single with Jakko Jakszyk, 1982)
  • "Dangerous Dreams" / "Opening Doors" (single with Jakko Jakszyk, 1983; Stiff Records BUY 183)
  • "I Can't Stand This Pressure" / "Living On The Edge" / "Cover Up" (single with Jakko Jakszyk, 1984)
  • "Who's Fooling Who" / "A Grown Man Immersed In Tin-Tin" (single with Jakko Jakszyk, 1984; Stiff Records SBUY 193)
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blues (Hugh Banton, Guy Evans, David Jackson) (1985)
  • Sarah Jane Morris (with Sarah Jane Morris, 1988)
  • Eyes Of The Angel (with Magic Mushroom Band, 1989)
  • Spaced Out (with Magic Mushroom Band, 1991)
  • The Single (Grand Opening Song / Minutes Of Peace) (cassette single with the Wildridings Primary School Choir, 1991)
  • Beams & Bells: Live at the QEH (live with Treloar School & Ballard School, 2001)
  • A to Z Healthy Choices (with St. John's CE (Aided) Primary School, 2003)
  • Batteries Included (live with René van Commenée, 2003)
  • The Music That Died Alone (with The Tangent, 2003)
  • Re-Collage (with Tony Pagliuca and Massimo Donà Quintet, 2004)
  • Lycanthrope (with Mangala Vallis, 2005)
  • The Courting Ground (with Dorie Jackson, 2007)
  • Distress Signal Code (with Lüüp, 2008)
  • Prog family (with Osanna, 2008)
  • Live in Italy (with Nic Potter, 2008)
  • Down in Shadows (with N.y.X, 2009)
  • Meadow Rituals (with Lüüp, 2011)[12]


  1. ^ Music on my mind, in SEN Magazine, 23 October 2009, accessed 15 Sept 2011
  2. ^ Meldreth Music Day - Disability Charity, on Scope UK, accessed 27 Sept 2011
  3. ^ Christopulos, J. & Smart, P. (2005) Van der Graaf Generator - The Book (Published by "Phil and Jim") ISBN 0-9551337-0-X
  4. ^ Van der Graaf Generator - David Jackson - Jaxon, page about David Jackson on the Van der Graaf Generator fansite, accessed 15 Sept 2011
  5. ^ Christopulos, J., and Smart, P.: "Van der Graaf Generator – The Book", page 52. Phil and Jim publishers, 2005. ISBN 095513370X
  6. ^ An interview with David Jackson by Mick Dillingham, accessed 13 Sept 2011
  7. ^ Soundbeam (website in Italian), accessed 15 Sept 2011
  8. ^ David Jackson Interview 2001, by Tim Locke, accessed 13 Sept 2011
  9. ^ a b David Jackson's WebHome, accessed 15 Sept 2011
  10. ^ Jake Jackson, Film Scoring and Recording Engineer Video Feature and Interview at Recordproduction.com, accessed 18 Sept 2011
  11. ^ Official Judge Smith website, accessed 10 May 2011
  12. ^ Official Lüüp website, accessed 25 Feb 2011

External links