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Ronald Shannon Jackson
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    (January 12, 1940-October 19, 2013)
    Born in Fort Worth, Texas
    Jazz/fusion drummer and composer
    Played 'free funk': free jazz improvision with funk rhythms
    Played with Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, James Blood Ulmer and John Zorn
    Member of the bands Last Exit, SLX, Mooko, Power Tools and Encryption
    Led the band the Decoding Society
    Recorded the albums 'Eye on You' (1980), 'Nasty' (1981), 'Street Priest' (1981), 'Mandance' (1982), 'Barbecue Dog' (1983), 'Pulse' (1984), 'Decode Yourself' (1985), 'When Colors Play' (1986), 'Texas' (1987), 'Red Warrior' (1990), 'What Spirit Say' (1994) and 'Shannon's House' (1996)
    Before discovering illegal drugs, he and a friend would ingest massive amounts of nutmeg to get high.
    He dropped out of music in the late 60s/early 70s for seven years of heroin abuse and petty crime.
    He was a vegetarian.
    He braided New York City subway tokens into his hair.
    He claimed he was blackballed by the music industry. (Although he seemed unsure if it was because he was black or for being a drummer.)
    When he was fifteen, his family moved into a white neighborhood and their house was firebombed.
    He received a full music scholarship to New York University.
    He toured Africa and Asia under the auspices of the Voice of America.
    He incorporated rock, funk and world music influences into his compositions.
    One day after undergoing an angioplasty, he checked himself out of the hospital to play at the Moers Festival in Germany (2011).
    Decoding Society keyboardist Pete Drungle said, 'He listens on a level most musicians aren't capable of and pushes you to play things you didn't know you were capable of.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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