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Chubby Jackson Dies at 84

Jazz Bassist and Scat Singer Chubby Jackson died in Rancho Bernardo, California on Oct 1, 2003 just shy of his 85th birthday.

Chubby was often called the cheer leader of Jazz for his enthusiasm and humor that was so much a part of his musical career. He was respected for his incredible energy on and off the bandstand. His death came after a long battle with kidney failure and cancer.

In a statement from his Florida home, Chubby's son, drummer Duffy Jackson said, " t is my sincere honor to have been taught music by my Father, one of the true champions of jazz. It is my musical destiny to carry on the legacy of the Jackson groove, Rest in peace Funky Papa". Daughter Jaijai said, "I am blessed to be Dad’s daughter, we were extremely close, he taught me that love is the answer, I know he is with God, there are no words to express how deeply he will be missed. I will keep his legacy alive".

Chubby is survived by his wife of 20 years, Margot and his three children Myno, Duffy and Jaijai with his first wife Joan and a granddaughter Chloe Zae.

In lieu of flowers donations are requested to cover medical expenses: Margot Jackson c/o The Rancho Bernardo Community Bank, 16495 Bernardo Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92128. Bank phone number is 858 451-9100.

Born in New York on October 25th, 1918, Greig Stewart Jackson was raised by Vaudevillian parents. Chubby started playing the bass in 1935 and worked with a variety of dance bands including Charlie Barnet and Woody Herman for which he was well known to be the Thundering Herds Cheerleader. Chubby was responsible for bringing many young modernists to Woody Herman's first herd including luminaries like Ralph Burns, Neal Hefti, Frances Wayne, and Pete Condoli. He composed several hits with the Herd such as "Northwest Passage." His energetic bass playing and vocals helped popularize the bands recordings of "Tiny's Blue's" "Caldonia" and "Lemon Drop".

In 1958, Chubby was among 56 jazz giants to pose for the now world famous photograph known as "A Great Day In Harlem." The following year he began a decade long run as host of a children's program on ABC-TV in Chicago (later also aired in New York City). The program, which included an 18 piece big band, ran Little Rascals movies between the music. This was a highly honored program and truly one of the happiest times in his life sharing jazz on TV for children. Chubby stopped playing the bass in 1998 but continued to be the consummate scat singer right to the end. In 2000, he loaned this two most famous basses (the Kay 5-string and the Ampeg electric bass) to the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, where the instruments are still on display.

Other Career Highlights:
Chubby helped popularize the the 5 string C bass, was responsible for bringing be-bop jazz to schools all over the country and also had the first American jazz band to tour Europe after WWII. He appeared in numerous movies and tv shows featuring the grand masters of Jazz . Chubby performed and recorded with Woody Herman, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnet, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gilllespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Red Norvo, Buddy Rich, Charlie Parker,Terry Gibbs, Ben Webster, Raymond Scott, Bill Harris, JJ Johnson, Zoot Sims, Gerry Mulligan, just to name a few.

For additional biography or quotes please contact the curator of the Museum of Making Music, Mr. Dan Del Fiorentino at 760 802-1423. Or Jaijai Jackson at 760-734-1124.

Research can also be found on and at

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Unknown
  • Subtitle: Jazz Legend Bassist
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