Milt Jackson (1923—1999) was the most significant American vibraphonist in jazz history, best known for his contribution to bebop and as a member of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Milt Jackson

Born in Detroit, Jackson first played music in church, and took up the vibraphone after hearing Lionel Hampton. He joined Dizzy Gillespie’s band in 1945 and played with many prominent bebop musicians, including Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk. In 1950 he founded the Modern Jazz Quartet, and they evolved their spacious, chamber jazz style over the next 20 years. His composition “Bags’ Groove” is named after his nickname Bags, and has become a jazz standard. Jackson cut many classic records as a band leader throughout his career, for Impulse!, Verve, Atlantic and others. He died in New York aged 76.