Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Javon Jackson & Les McCann: Two for the Road

Legendary pianist and singer performs shows with Javon Jackson’s band at clubs and festivals throughout the U.S

Javon Jackson and David Gilmore at 2010 Cape May Jazz Festival
Les McCann at 2010 Cape May Jazz Festival
Les McCann
Javon Jackson

Many times in jazz the personnel that comes together in a special way is the result of second choices or just plain serendipity. So too with the pairing of Javon Jackson and Les McCann who have been performing together at clubs and festivals, including a recent concert at the Cape May Jazz Festival. Seeing the two mesh onstage, it would be hard to imagine that the legendary McCann was originally a sub or fill-in.

About three years ago, Jackson had an upcoming performance for his soul-jazz group scheduled at John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room in San Francisco and his organist, the great Dr. Lonnie Smith, was unable to make it. Acting on a whim as much as anything, Jackson called Eddie Harris’s widow and mentioned that he was in a bind and did she think Les McCann might be interesting in subbing for Smith in that gig in the Bay area. She encouraged him to call McCann at his home in Southern California and, as Hooker himself sang, “Boom Boom Boom” the two hit it off onstage and were soon performing other shows together and connecting across generations. Since that show in 2007, they’ve done about fifty shows together and jazz audiences are getting another look at the 75-year-old McCann, who appears rejuvenated by the collaboration.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published