Saturday, October 29, 2011


Born in Biddeford, Maine, composer/vocalist/pianist Christopher Gore was raised in Montreal and New England before moving to California, where he met pianist and arranger Marty Steele. In 2005 they collaborated for the first time, and the concept of Jackson Garrett was born. (Gore had been searching for a band name which reflects the distinctly American sound of his music, and when a friend in Dallas told him her grandfather had passed away and his name was Jackson Garrett, Gore quickly and politely requested that he be permitted to use the name, since her grandfather would not be needing it anymore!). 

In Montreal, Gore founded the Upstairs Jazz Club in 1985, where he began to appreciate the “American Songbook”, and he likes to say that he gleaned his musical aptitude and direction from the talented musicians he hired nightly. In Palm Springs, CA, Gore met Pat Rizzo, local saxophonist whose credits include long stints with Sly and The Family Stone, War, and Frank Sinatra, as well as being a versatile vocalist and composer himself. Shortly after meeting Rizzo, Gore began a musical collaboration with the late Walter Earl Brown(Earl), composer of the hit Elvis song “If I Can Dream”, Grammy and Emmy award winner, and music arranger and writer for dozens of hit variety shows including “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour”, The Dinah Shore Show”, and many others. Then, in 2005, with Rizzo and Earl Brown, Gore and Steele began a long-standing relationship in the recording studio, and they have produced four CD’s to date (Please Call Me, Sanjaya!, Cool And Easy, Speechless, and Let Sleeping Dogs Lie), performed dozens of shows in Southern California before hundreds, and received much radio airplay both in the U.S. and abroad.

Jackson Garrett, as a band, is loosely based on a musical concept along the lines of Steely Dan. Gore and Steele represent the Fagen/Becker songwriting side of the group, and the cast of sidemen and guests on their records and shows might vary from time to time, but a core group of musicians comprise the main body of the band. Also like Steely Dan, each of the sidemen is a significantly recognized talent in his own right.
On the local scene, Jackson Garrett performs as a 10 piece band for charity events and special concerts, and sometimes in a smaller ensemble at nightclubs.

Jackson Garrett band members:
Christopher Gore - composer, arranger, producer, vocalist
Marty Steele - composer, arranger, engineer, pianist
Jeff Stover - bass
Steve Neilen - drums
John Pagels - guitar
Steve Madaio - trumpet
Gary Bias - sax
Pat Rizzo - sax
Kenny Meier - trombone
Kristi King - vocals
Laura Hagen - vocals

Some tidbits:
  • Jackson Garrett once performed “Lemon Tree” with Trini Lopez, and Trini exclaimed that it was the first time he ever sang the song as a duet(with Christopher Gore).
  • Christopher Gore founded the Upstairs Jazz Club in Montreal in 1985, and the club is still going strong.
  • Jackson Garrett performed at The Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs with Earth, Wind and Fire saxophonist Gary Bias and composer/vocalist Slim Man.
  • Jackson Garrett trumpet player Steve Madaio performed at Woodstock with Buffalo Springfield, and on Stevie Wonder’s “Songs In The Key Of Life”, and hundreds of hit records.
  • As of this writing, Jackson Garrett has held the number one(#1) spot on the ReverbNation jazz charts in the Coachella Valley for over one year.

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