Award-winning musician, composer, arranger, educator, and percussionist Ali Jackson developed his talent at an early age. A virtuoso, Ali has contributed significant musical works as a composer and arranger and he holds the distinction of being the first percussionist to perform and create music across the entire spectrum of musical styles.
He began playing drums at the age of two and piano by the age of five. As a child growing up in Detroit, Ali found himself immersed in serious study alongside his father, the great jazz bassist Ali Jackson Sr., who gave him an intense introduction to music, taking him on gigs where he began playing professionally at eight years old.
Ali’s natural ability and passion for music bloomed and by the age of 11 his aptitude flourished as a result of a steady stream of lessons and mentoring from an all-star lineup of music legends, including Max Roach, Milt Hinton, Dr. Donald Byrd, Betty Carter, Aretha Franklin and James Mtume. During one lesson when he was 12, Ali met Wynton Marsalis and impressed the trumpet virtuoso and future collaborator with his maturity and his advanced knowledge of the piano and music theory — skills rare among drummers.
Ali graduated as a music major with high honors from Detroit’s prestigious Cass Tech High School, a program with a rich legacy of consistently producing the country’s top musicians.