Ronald Shannon Jackson with Jeanne Demers. In 1979, he founded his own group, the Decoding Society,
playing what has been dubbed free funk
: a blend of funk rhythm
and free jazz
Jeanne Demers : This is to honor the passing of an important person in my life. Drummer/Composer/Educator, @[1178012598:2048:Ronald Shannon Jackson]. I spent a lot of hours sitting in Shannon’s studio. Room 702 of The Music Building, NYC. Shannon would speak and I would scribble. I had no idea the depth of what was being shared with me. But I felt its greatness. So I scribbled. Thank you for sharing so much with me, Shannon. I love you. “My conscious awareness appeared when I was about four.” “Of what?” I asked. “Rhythm… And its effect. On me. In my 30’s I became aware of its effect on other people. In my mid-thirties the true search began. I met Ornette Coleman. I became one of his students Or initiate It was like connecting with a ship that we had been disconnected from. I was already playing drums. He told me to play the flute That way I could write the rhythm that I was hearing and playing on paper thereby capturing or allowing to be or work with that which before had been a joy unto me. So I thank him for it. I met Cecil Taylor And learned the discipline required to harness that which Ornette showed me I met Albert Ayler who showed me how to fu*k the system and go inside and play. I worked with Betty Carter who in a brief moment taught me how to caress the beat before or the beat above and beat below the main rhythm. I learned the blues in Texas I learned the shuffle in my hometown. I learned with Charles Mingus and Stanley Turrentine I swing with Ray Bryant I rock with Vernon Reid Made love with Jef Lee Ignite with the Fuze David, that is. I’ve traveled the Chitlin Circuit And walked the path with Horace. Danced with Isis Set at the feet of Osiris. Called Called by Miles Met Louis Armstrong Ray Charles Given the key to Osaka. Buddhist Artist of the Year 1989 Music is my life. Living is my crime.” — with Ronald Shannon Jackson.