Music

Behind the Mic with Carlton Jackson, The Message

KMHD Jazz Radio | June 11, 2014 11:45 a.m. | Updated: June 11, 2014 1:42 p.m.

Contributed By:

Derek Smith


Weekends at KMHD end on a perfect note when drummer and DJ
Carlton Jackson brings The Message to you each Sunday night from 7-10 pm.  It’s a powerful journey through the spiritual and thoughtful sounds of jazz, filtered through African-American consciousness. Here are a few personal revelations from behind the mic with Carlton

How did you first get into radio?

My first experience of radio was at the mighty KBOO 90.7 Community Radio in Portland. It was 1983 and I had my own show called “Hot Lunch Special” for about four years  and today I continue to substitute for others at KBOO. My mentors at KBOO (Rick Mitchell, Bob Dietsche, Evan Shlaes, Dan Flessas, Howard Cutler, Nick Gefroh and of course, George Page) paved the way for my current affairs on radio, because the programming I did was very Afro-centric with the straight-ahead jazz from the ‘60s on. The social consciousness was woven into the fabric of what I played back then, and that feel certainly informs my current affairs with The Message at KMHD.

What would surprise people most about what you do in your personal life?

I don’t have any big surprises about my life, but here’s a few tidbits to chew on…. I am an inductee of the Oregon Music Hall of Fame (2008) and am honored to be a member of David Douglas High School’s “Distinguished Alumni List.” I am a fan of the films of Sam Peckinpah and Sidney Lumet. I teach drum set lessons privately at Rhythm Traders (NE PDX) for anyone who wants to take one. I’ve run one of the best big bands in town, with co-leader Dave Mills, since the 1980s. I’m attempting to work with the Gang Enforcement Task Force in providing alternatives for offenders. Music is one of those things that could turn someone around if they are willing to put the time in.

When you aren’t listening to the music you play on KMHD, what are you tuned into?

Any music that sounds good…I listen to it all!!! I subscribe to Duke Ellington’s comments about music being good or bad…just that it exists is a great thing, and I’ll figure out what I dig or don’t dig about it along the way. There are some great moments of radio programming here in this town that I am fond of…I am a forever fan of Steven Cantor’s Beats And Pieces in the Cloud on MixCloud. His past years on KMHD and OPB were some of my favorite radio programming ever. I sorely miss his radio presence. King Fader is also on MixCloud (and KBOO 90.7 FM) and he is wonderful also. Musician David Ornette Cherry has a show on BlogTalk Radio called Organic Nation that is pretty cool…. Let’s not forget Yugen Rashad with his show The Motif, also on KBOO. Did I mention our own Matt Fleeger’s New Jazz for Lunch program on KMHD???

Tell us about an interesting hobby you have.

I collect movie posters/memorabilia and center my scope around the “Blacksploitation” period in ‘70s film. I grew up watching “Shaft” and “Superfly” among others, and thus my interests are informed from that period. Some of the programming of my KMHD show touches into this period of time and I use many examples as a result. I also have a cool snow globe from the movie “Fargo.” If you know the movie, then you would get the joke of having a snow globe. (Especially what’s floating inside!!!)

Where do you live and what are some of your favorite neighborhood spots?

Central NE Portland, and that is where I was born. The Radio Room on Alberta is cool to hang at and the staff is wonderful. Club 21 is retro and funky and I hang there, as well as the Beech Street Parlor, a bar made out of an old style house from the ‘50s. Acadia in NE Portland is great for New Orleans bistro food. Uh oh…now I’ve given away all of my secret hangs.

If you could bring someone back to life from jazz history and hang out with them for an afternoon, who would it be and why?

The Duke, Count Basie or Nina Simone would be interesting…maybe Elvin Jones, or even Baby Dodds! Get the real story of drums from either of them. I’m sure it would be an interesting hang, but gotta invite all the drummers in town to share in the knowledge, because it’s not right to be greedy about this!

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