About Follow the Soul Trane
Eric Jackson is widely considered the dean of Boston jazz radio. In 2011, his signature program, Eric in the Evening, celebrated its 30th year as a popular staple in the 89.7 WGBH roster. To commemorate his 30th anniversary, Jazz Boston honored Jackson with a spectacular two-part stage and screen event during Jazz Week ’11. During the week, he was presented with the Roy Haynes Award for exceptional contributions to jazz and the local jazz community.
In 2012, Jackson received the 2012 Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award. His other awards include two of the most prevalent given by the industry:Jazzweek’s 2008 Major Market Programmer of the Year; and the National Jazz Journalists Association’s 2006 Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Excellence in Jazz Broadcasting.
Jackson also has been recognized by the Massachusetts College of Art as one of the “100 most culturally influential Bostonians of the 20th century,” and by The Berklee College of Music for “advancing careers in music.” Additionally, in 2006, Cambridge City Council acknowledged Jackson’s extensive knowledge of music through radio broadcasts and lectures, naming him an official “Cultural Ambassador for the Arts.”
Jackson began his broadcast career in 1969 while attending Boston University, where he hosted three programs (offering jazz, rhythm-and-blues and what he calls “mixed music”) on the college’s closed-circuit AM station. Continuing his work in college radio, he went on to host WBUR’s The Grotto at BU (1970) and WHRB’s Going East at Harvard (1971) before moving to the commercial airwaves and a Sunday afternoon jazz program on WILD (1972).
For five years prior to joining WGBH Radio, Jackson hosted a contemporary mixed-music show for WBCN, where he also produced and hosted Third World Report, a weekly public affairs forum. While still at WBCN, Jackson wrote and narrated Essays in Black Music, a 35-part chronology of African American musical history that aired weekly on WGBH 89.7 in 1975.
In 1977, with Artists in the Night, an overnight jazz showcase, Jackson became a regular part of the WGBH lineup. Jazz with Eric in the Evening debuted in 1981, and with it his emergence as one of the public broadcaster’s most popular on-air personalities.
Over the years, Jackson has done approximately 3,000 interviews with music greats ranging from Wynton Marsalis to Ornette Coleman to Dizzy Gillespie. Countless music writers and event producers routinely call upon him for inspiration and direction on their projects.
An active promoter of jazz throughout New England and across the country, Jackson has lectured at Simmons and Wheelock Colleges and is currently a member of the Northeastern University faculty, teaching The African American Experience Through Music each semester. He has lectured at The Leeds Conservatory in England and Boston’s New England Conservatory and the Peabody- Essex Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts as well as the Museum of African American History in Boston. Additionally, he was instrumental in developing exhibits for the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. In 2010, Jackson contributed a chapter in the Leonard Brown book John Coltrane and Black America’s Quest for Freedom. Titled “Somebody Please Say, ‘Amen!’,” the chapter relates his very personal feelings when listening to the legendary Coltrane.
Erin X. Smithers
Erin X. Smithers is a freelance photographer and blogger whose work explores and expresses the essence and beauty of life and nature, as told through performances and story-telling.
Born and raised in China during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Erin was influenced during her upbringing by her late grandmother who exemplified a life of inner harmony and mindfulness of others through good intentions and kindness. She learned from her father to be of service to others and to the world, and who encouraged her to empower oneself with endless curiosity and learning.
Erin’s first introduction to jazz was from both her father and John Coltrane’s song Alabama, along with stories about the Civil Rights Movement in America. These opened the door and started a lifelong love of jazz for her, along with helping to form her strong beliefs in non-violence. Erin believes there is healing power in the sounds and words of music, and that through this we all share a common spiritual connection.
You can find more of Erin’s work on her website at http://www.erinxsmithersmedia.com/