Sunday, April 15, 2007


David Jackson ... known to aficionados as Jaxon - another extraordinary saxophonist, flautist, composer and performer - one of the great driving forces in the history of Van Der Graaf Generator, as well as a solo performer. A singular man, playing alto, tenor and baritone sax as well as flutes - often simultaneously. He has pioneered the use of electronically-treated sax sounds, developing his own equipment to get the range of sounds he was after.
Live, Jaxon was one of the great focal points of Van Der Graaf ... blasting away on two or three saxes at once, great walls of sound alternating with beautiful and delicate passages - usually in black and sporting an odd looking German train-driver's hat. Even Peter Hammill had to be on his mettle to stop Jaxon stealing the show.

Over the last few decades, he has also worked both as a maths and a music teacher, and has done a lot of work developing new technologies allowing people from a wide range of musical prowess and widely differing physical abilities to make music and take the stage ... the Soundbeam, for instance. He does this, I should point out, without a great deal of fanfare, just quietly getting on with the job - very different from the archetypal ego stroking associated with rock musicians doing charity work.

I understand the reformed Van Der Graaf will be continuing without Jackson ... no! Can it be the Generator without Jaxon? Is this wise? Your classic VDGG line-up is Peter Hammill, David Jackson, Hugh Banton and Guy Evans ... so sad to see that wonderful unit broken. But nothing good lasts forever, I suppose.


Blogger Geddy Lee Helium Voice. said...

I saw that classic line-up, at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, on its reunion tour. The gig was fantastic. One is supposed to say - for four old geezers etc. But no. They were as vital and dangerous as anything I have ever seen. The sound was ferocious; and - crucially - they really meant it. I believe they are doing the rounds without Jackson, yes. Not the same at all, I agree.

4:33 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

Yes, I should have got off my arse when they played London ... I was going to go along when they play the Royal Festival Hall, but then realised Jackson wouldn't be there. Shame. I read a quite suprising statement from Hammill saying that Jackson couldn't grasp how they as a unit were supposed to work and make decisions.
For me, Jackson's work is such an integral part.

7:30 PM  
Blogger kek-w said...

Saw 'em in '78, I think, in Bristol. They played "Louie, Louie" as an encore, after a wag in the audience shouted it out when they asked for requests (LoL!)


11:00 PM  
Blogger St. Anthony said...

'Louie Louie' - classic. Peter Hammill and his famously knockabout sense of humour.
Best Hammill joke I can remember (a small and select field) is the occasion of VDGG's only American gig (1976, I think)- someone in the crowd shouted "bring out Fripp!", to which P.H. replied "Fripp's been trying to bring out Fripp for years and every time it's a bloody disaster" ...
No, stop it, my ribs ...

8:11 AM  

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