Willis "Gator Tail" Jackson, composer, arranger and saxophonist, was born in 1932 in Miami, Florida. He began studying the piano at age ten, then added the clarinet, and made his professional debut at age fourteen on the tenor saxophone with local bands. Jackson studied theory and harmony at Florida A & M University, and later worked and toured with Cootie Williams, Dinah Washington and Jackie Wilson, among others. He formed various groups including the Willis Jackson Organ Quartet and the Willis Jackson Orchestra and utilized a rhythm and blues sound as well as jazz. His invention, the Jackson's Gator Horn, is a saxophone used for ballads whose sound is a cross "between soprano and alto [saxophone] and French horn and clarinet." He died in 1987.
From the guide to the Willis Jackson Papers, 1955-1984, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)
Born Burnley, Lancashire, 1904; educated Burnley Grammar School, 1916-1922; read electrical engineering at Manchester University, 1922-1925; lecturer in Electrical Engineering, Burnley Municipal College, 1925-1926, Bradford Technical College, 1926-1929; Graduate apprentice, Metropolitan-Vickers, 1929-1930; lecturer in Electrical Engineering, Manchester College of Technology, 1930-1933; postgraduate student at Magdalen College, Oxford, 1933-1936; DPhil, Oxford University, 1936; DSc, Manchester University, 1936; Research Engineer, Metropolitan-Vickers, 1936-1938; Professor of Electro-technics, Manchester University, 1936-1946; Professor of Electrical Engineering, Imperial College, London, 1946-1953; elected Fellow of the Royal Society, 1953; member of the Royal Commission on the Civil Service, 1953; Director of Research and Education, Metropolitan Vickers, 1953-1961; knighted, 1958; Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Imperial College, 1961-1970; Pro-Rector of Imperial College, 1967-1970; life peer, 1967; devoted much time and energy to public service, especially on matters connected with education, science and technology in Britain and in developing countries, notably India and Africa; served on many official committees and advisory councils; died, 1970. Jackson began to compile what he called his 'scrapbooks' in 1952 as a pastime on an Atlantic sea-crossing. Originally intended as a private record of social and personal engagements, the project developed into materials for a relatively complete autobiography, with annotations and 'chapter-headings' added by Jackson. He continued the work until his death, and also compiled a retrospective account from his schooldays onwards. Publications: High Frequency Transmission Lines, etc (London, 1945); Advanced Courses in Electrical Engineering [London, 1950]; The Insulation of Electrical Equipment, Editor (Chapman & Hall, London, 1954); Scientific, Technological and Technical Manpower (University of Southampton, [Southampton], 1963); A Review of the scope and problems of scientific and technological manpower policy [Chairman, Professor Sir Willis Jackson] (Parliamentary Papers, London, 1965); Macdonald Trends and Developments in Engineering Series General editor (Macdonald, London, 1965-); Technology and the developing countries (London, University of London, School of Oriental and African Studies, 1966).
From the guide to the JACKSON, Willis, Baron Jackson of Burnley (1904-1970), 1916-1970, (Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine)