Jackson began composing in November 2008. His composition instructors while he was an undergraduate at Northwestern State University included Richard Rose and Dr. Samuel Stokes. As a graduate student at the University of Louisville, he has participated in the School of Music Composition Seminar. Jackson’s compositions have been performed across Louisiana. His Suite for Solo Guitar, Op. 21, written for John De Chiaro, has also been heard on local radio and television. Fred Child, host of public radio’s Performance Today, was duly impressed when De Chiaro shared the Suite’s first movement with him and has asked to hear the remaining movements once they have been recorded. Jackson’s latest work, his Étude Spectrale I, Op. 27, was selected for inclusion at New Music on the Bayou and was premiered there in June 2017.
Jackson believes that contemporary composers have obligations both to their art and to their audience. At once, the composer must seek innovation in his music without alienating his listeners as did so many Modernists. This balance is essential for the long-term survival of our art, in fact of any art. Innovation does not come, however, by ignoring the accomplishments of our predecessors, and we must learn from their victories as well as their shortcomings. From the beginning, Jackson’s appreciation for music history has in this way guided his own music forward. He has continually sought to incorporate the vocabulary and grammar of modern music into original compositions which are not only innovative but also engaging to the general listener.
Jackson’s earliest works were electronic and include a series of fascinating electronic poems. As he became more familiar with music theory and practical musicianship, he began to write chamber music, focusing especially on music for uncommon ensembles. These works include his Contrapunctus I for three cellos, Op. 11, his first work to be performed live, and his Jazz Cats, Op. 20, a trio for clarinet (or saxophone), double bass, and piano. More recently, he has sought to integrate chamber and electronic music. His Trombone Concertino, Op. 19b, performed by trombonist Matt Petty in May 2018, has been one of the first products of this new direction in his music.