Now Playing:


Think Out Loud

Jazz Messengers Unite In Portland

Pete Springer/OPB

Editor’s Note: This show will be broadcast live on OPB Plus as well as OPB Radio. It will be rebroadcast at 8pm the same day on OPB TV and OPB Radio.

By the time he was 14 years old, Javon Jackson knew he wanted to play in Art Blakey’s band. Jackson joined the Jazz Messengers in 1987 and played saxophone with the band until Blakey’s death in 1990. Jackson says he considers joining Blakey’s band to be a pivotal point in his career. Since then, he has appeared on over 125 recordings and toured all over the world with his own band.

Art Blakey played with a host of jazz musicans over the course of his long career. The New York Times called him “an extraordinary drummer” and a “one-man university for young musicians.”

Pianist George Cables also benefited from an education with the Jazz Messengers. Cables was originally trained as a classical musician. Cables played with Blakey in 1969 and he says the opportunity to be on stage with someone who was “bigger than life” had a lasting effect on him. According to JazzTimes, Cables went on to help define modern jazz piano.

Are you a fan of Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers? What questions do you have for two musicians who have been members of the band?


  • Javon Jackson: Recording artist and musician
  • George Cables: Pianist, composer and faculty member at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music
arts and culture jazz music portland

More Think Out Loud

More OPB

Join the Conversation

Send Think Out Loud A Message

Also This Hour

News Roundtable: Feb. 22, 2013

OPB | Broadcast: Feb. 22, 2013