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ALI JACKSON (drums), born on April 3, 1976, took an early liking to the drums. At the age of five, he began studying the piano, which laid the foundation for his melodic approach to the drums. By the time he was seven, Jackson was performing with his father on the streets of Detroit. He graduated from Cass Technical High School, known for producing some of the most renowned names in jazz, including Paul Chambers, Donald Byrd, Barry Harris, and Geri Allen to name just a few. At Cass, he performed in numerous ensembles and honed his natural ability. Jackson won the Clarence Eddins/Blue Bird Inn Scholarship for outstanding music achievement and was selected to be a featured soloist for "Beacons in Jazz," honoring jazz legend Max Roach. A graduate of the Mannes College of Music for jazz and contemporary music at the New School for Social Research, Jackson continues to expand his study of fine art. In conjunction with his formal education, he has also taken private lessons and instruction from master teachers like Joe Chambers, Charlie Persip, Chico Hamilton, and Max Roach. His style, a powerful blend of technical mastery and showmanship, is strongly influenced by his late Uncle Oliver "Bops" Jackson Jr., Papa Jo Jones, and Lionel Hampton. Jackson has always been outspoken in making sure that young people are properly informed about jazz and its tradition. For the past several years, he has been part of Young Audiences, a program that strives to educate New York City youth about Jazz. Jackson has performed and recorded extensively, working with some of the world's finest musicians including Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aretha Franklin, Marcus Roberts, Gerald Albright, Eric Reed, KRS-ONE, Russell Gunn, Jacky Terrasson, Rodney Kendrick, Buster Williams, Cyrus Chestnut, Nicholas Payton, Milt Hinton, and the New York City Ballet.