Born in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 27, 1935, Al Jackson was not only a phenomenal drummer, but also a congenial and friendly African-American. He was classified as a money drummer and actually had his own characteristic snare sound by loosening the snares and placing his billfold on the drumhead. His drum career consisted of partially rock, and partially blues, all of which he included his own little rhythm that astounded many. He really put the 'feel' into his music, it is easily understood what that means whenever anyone listens to any record featuring Al Jackson and his outstanding drumming.
Jackson was actually a child prodigy, just as many well known drummers of today. He began performing with his father's big band at the young age of five. He continued to play on his own and locally until in 1962, when he joined up with Booker T. Jones to form the MGs, along with guitarist Steve Cropper, and bassist Duck Dunn. Booker T. & The MGs made history by powering hits by Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Wilson Pickett, Eddie Floyd, Sam & Dave, and also by creating their own instrumental hits like Green Onions. They rarely ever did tour, but the Mgs did make live recordings of several performances.
As time went by, Al Jackson became one of the most influential drummers of the soul era, his music was important to many drummers striving for glory in the soul community. He played all classic soul hits that came out of the Stax studios, as described and mentioned in the above paragraph.
Al was the oldest member of the Stax session team, and the younger musicians looked up to him when it came to music, they respected him and asked for guidance due to his phenomenal range of experience. They all actually relied on him to find the appropriate groove to transform good songs into great ones, and it always seemed to work whenever he suggested that they try something new.
Sometimes it is hard for people nowadays to appreciate drummers like Al Jackson, but his style was like no other. It was groove mixed with a powerful rock bang, but altogether, it was deceptively simple according to Jim Payne. Back in that era, if you listened to soul, you always knew when you were listening to Al Jackson, as he developed his own recognizable style that became extremely essential to the 1960s and 70s soul.
Unfortunately, in 1975 Al Jackson was murdered. He was only age 39 and had plenty of music left in him.