Jazz musicians all over the world are likely to be aware of drummer Gene Jackson's talent and expressive performances. While Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, and Tony Williams were some of his drumming influences, Jackson has a style that can change in accordance to what genre of music he plays. His ability to range from African to Latin to Cool rhythms have afforded Jackson the opportunity to be recommended by dozens of eminent musicians since his career took off 15 years ago. Jackson was born October 16, 1961 in West Philadelphia, Pa. Though he grew up as an only child, Jackson began to focus on music with the help of his guardian's grandson, Greg McDonald who played the drums. (Greg) would have rehearsals with a band of excellent musicians, which helped inspire me early on, Jackson said.
In 1979, Jackson, who had the ambition to become a professional drummer as soon as he picked up the sticks, went to Boston to attend the well-renowned Berklee College of Music. In the five years Gene spent at Berklee, he counted among his peers and classmates: Walter Beasley, Branford Marsalis, Mark Whitfield, Monty Croft, Donald Harrison, Cindy Blackman, Terri Lynn Carrington, Billy Kilson, Jeff Tain Watts, Marvin Smitty Smith, Cyrus Chestnut, Danilo Perez, Dave Kakowski, Jovan Jackson, to name a few. Jackson also lived in an apartment with saxophonist Branford Marsalis, with whom he had established a good friendship. When Branford moved to New York City, fellow drummer Marvin Smitty Smith became Gene's roommate.