Musical variety is the key to Jack DeJohnette’s artistry

The Artistry of… Jack DeJohnette

The foundations of Jack DeJohnette’s artistry are in formal classical music training started at an early age. Beyond just the study, he was an avid listener exposed to all kinds of music — opera, country, R&B, jazz and swing. He’s said that he did not listen to them by separating them into different categories; this is an integral element of his playing and writing style. Influences of many genres can be heard in his unique artistry.

His varied career is evidence of this interest and ability to seamlessly move from one style to another and blend elements in a moment. In his time with the Charles Lloyd Quartet, he was a moving part of the group’s crossover appeal.

DeJohnette started playing with Miles Davis just ahead of the recording of the iconic Bitches Brew album, and Davis said this of the dynamic drummer: “Jack DeJohnette gave me a deep groove that I just loved to play over.” That deep groove has been a solid foundation and musical driving gear for the many groups and projects he’s led, not just as a rhythm keeper but as leader and equal contributor. The work with Keith Jarrett and Gary Peacock is part of defining the trio, and as a member of the group Hudson, he’s part of a collective celebration of the music of the ’60s and ’70s including Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and The Band. The career is rich and the beat goes on.



The Artistry of… is a weekly series that reflects on the passion and essence of an artist. It airs Wednesday evenings on Dinner Jazz with John Devenish.


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