Past tenor saxophone battles such as Sonny Stitt-Gene Ammons or Dexter Gordon-Wardell Gray were born out of the rich jam session tradition of yesteryear. That system, much like the studio system in motion pictures, has largely faded to legend and been replaced by the system of jazz academia. Besides their shared Art Blakey Jazz Messengers pedigree, academia is where these two tenorists intersect, though not as fellow students, uniquely as mentor-student. Bret Primack’s concise notes make it clear that Jackson was one of Pierce’s favorite students at Berklee, perhaps making his later succession of Pierce in the Messengers pre-ordained.
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