A legend from the ragtime years who unfortunately never recorded, Tony Jackson is remembered primarily because of Jelly Roll Morton's words of praise, and due to his composition "Pretty Baby" becoming a standard. He was a popular entertainer in Storyville (where he started working in the 1890s) who was not only a skilled ragtime pianist, but a ballad and blues singer, a talented accompanist, and a good composer. Jackson spent time in Louisville during 1904, toured with the Whitman Sisters, and worked throughout the South and the Midwest. He moved permanently to Chicago in 1913, and composed "Michigan Water Blues" and "The Naked Dance," both of which were recorded in the late '30s by Jelly Roll Morton. He died of syphilis at the age of 44.
by Scott Yanow