Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Carlton Jackson passes away: Beloved drummer, band leader, broadcaster icon, friend had just turned 60 / Update

By TOM D'ANTONI //  Oregon's musical community in deep mourning over the loss of a great musician and an even greater man. Audio interview included.

 Carlton Jackson, drummer, bandleader, teacher, broadcaster and a beloved. pillar of Oregon's music community passed away over the weekend. No details at the moment. He had just turned sixty years of age.


KMHD's Matt Fleeger wrote this today.

KMHD will pre-empt programming at 7pm all week with The Message, the show Carlton had done since 2009. Friday will be 6-8pm. 

Peter Dammann, who played with him for decades summed it up in a Facebook post today:

You gently led me to the groove, made me feel fearless, helped me become the best version of my guitarist-self I've ever been. Thank you for your grace, wisdom, humor, generous brilliance. The five years of Monday nights you spent with us here changed me in ways that, a decade later, I'm still discovering. I will be forever grateful for every moment I got to spend with you on the bandstand, CJ. RIP


 When OMN started our Coffeeshop Conversations podcast, Carlton was one of the early guests. It is a comfort to hear his voice.

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Denise Drake

Such an amazing human being. . Thank you for all you have given us. . Rest In Peace

Deborah DeMoss Smith

When the Big Four New Orleans syncopated drum beat was needed for my live Mardi Gras shows, Carlton delivered. What a smart and joyous musician he was. Thanks, Carton, and keep that beat going on the Other Side!!!! "Yeah, you right!"

Mitch Ritter

Carlton Jackson gone?!?!? Something does not compute. Nobody has been more P-R-E-S-E-N-T-E than Carlton, in person soul intact since I moved up here in mid 2005. From the weird Throwing Pianos combo of thrash Carlton held down at Miss Studios old storefront church incarnation to seeing around town in various hoods and places I learned he was fond of hanging at, hearing on KMHD only one night a week, which made it more special, and soaking up the jazz, soul, r&b, rock, theater, cabaret and folk lore that oozed out of Carlton with such laid-back charm and unique personality with his values on to de-escalate any free-floating locational insanity. Learned stuff everybody I listened to Carlton, whether he was playing, teaching the nuance and sublime qualities of cymbals or other such stuff. This second summer of Pandemic Plague time is that much more serious with Carlton Jackson not amongst us to leaven the sense of shared foreboding. Who else on PoTown Radio, even community PoTown Radio could be counted on for a Count Floyd SCTV cameo walk-on. Please Daniel of The Outside World now years gone from KBOO, please JeffRo from SongCircle, please Waterfront Blues Fest Upriver, let everyone be wrong even with a reliable source. You are alive, Carlton, as long as we are alive. P-R-E-S-E-N-T-E and bearing a MESSAGE we need to hear and feel every Sunday night, plague times or silver linings parted...Z"L RIP stop by Lay-Low Studios, Ore-Wa any ol' time...

arnold ponce

We've lost a giant of a gentleman, musician, radio host and just plain good guy.
Carlton loved to discuss anything about anything.
He had a good word for life and all it's intricacies and mysteries.
I will miss him on Sunday nights and The Message.

Niel DePonte

A tremendous loss in the percussion community. What a great dude and such a good player. I will miss his infectious laughter and good energy. RIP CJ!


I was honored to have met this man and watched him on many occasions. You will be missed brother.

Leroy Laush

I was lucky to crew with a band he was in in the 80s, Jeff Lorber Fusion with Kenny G.. Carlton always made me feel like a friend and not just another crew guy. Years later he told someone I saved the Portland Jazz Festival for him when his hi hat fell apart, but I was not a drum roadie and without him playing and telling me how to reassemble it (and playing at the same time!) I never could have done it. He was a prince and an amazing musician.

Mark Cash

Carlton Jackson was the Master of the Understatement on percussion/drums. Lots of wisdom, deeper reflections, great sense of humor, rolled his entire drum kit in on one trip, David Douglas alumnus, peaceful soul, honorable man, The Message, Chihuahua 🏜️ Desert's friend. May Carlton's soul and the souls of all the departed Rest In Peace.

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