words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Music For Backgrounds 02: Jack DeJohnette -Peace time

A beautiful journey into a serene world of meditative bliss. This is perfect music for your meditation, creative process or yoga practice….

– Jack DeJohnette’s Peace time 1:02:08

Throughout late 2009 and most of 2010, Peace time was one of my most played albums. It simply is captivating….


Jack DeJohnette (born 9 August 1942) is an American jazz drummer, pianist, and composer. He is one of the most influential jazz drummers of the 20th century, due to extensive work as leader and sideman for musicians like Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Keith Jarrett and Sonny Rollins.


DeJohnette was born in Chicago, Illinois. Besides the drums, he also studied the piano. He first became known as a member of Charles Lloyd’s band, a group that pianist Keith Jarrett also was a part of at that time. He played with Bill Evans in 1968 on the acclaimed Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and from 1969 to 1972 played with Miles Davis. In the 1970s he recorded for Milestone/Prestige and ECM. He also appeared widely on ECM as a sideman. Since then he has recorded for MCA Records, Blue Note Records, and Kindred Rhythm.

DeJohnette has led several groups since the early-1970s, including Compost, a jazz-rock group that did two albums for Columbia with Bob Moses and Harold Vick; Directions (with John Abercrombie, Alex Foster, Warren Bernhardt, and Mike Richmond); New Directions (with Abercrombie, Lester Bowie, and Eddie Gomez); Gateway (with John Abercrombie and Dave Holland); and Special Edition (with David Murray, Chico Freeman, Arthur Blythe, Peter Warren, and others). Since the 1980s, he has been a member of what has become known as Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio alongside Jarrett and Gary Peacock.

Since 2003, DeJohnette has been part of Trio Beyond with fellow musicians Larry Goldings (organ) and John Scofield (guitar). The trio was set up in tribute to The Tony Williams Lifetime trio led by Williams with Larry Young (organ) and John McLaughlin (guitar). He also currently appears as a member of the Bruce Hornsby Trio. In February, 2009, DeJohnette received the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album, Peace Time.

DeJohnette’s most current project as of 2010 is Jack DeJohnette Group, featuring Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, David Fiuczynski on double-neck guitar, George Colligan on keyboards and piano, and long-time associate Jerome Harris on electric and acoustic bass guitars.

DeJohnette successfully incorporates elements of free jazz and world music, while maintaining the deep grooves of jazz and R&B drummers. His exceptional experience of time and style, combined with astounding improvisational ingenuity, make him one of the most highly regarded and in-demand drummers. He also occasionally appears on piano, on his own recordings.

In 2012, DeJohnette will be awarded an NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship for his “significant lifetime contributions have helped to enrich jazz and further the growth of the art form.”

10 responses

  1. seen him perform live a couple of years ago. Brilliant musician! May I also add Alice Coltrane to this creative meditative process?…

    January 13, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    • Hi Marina. Yes you may add Alice Coltrane to this creative mix. I have never seen Jack DeJohnette perform, however I have seen Miles Davis play (Academy of Music in Philadelphia 1991). This album by Jack is a great departure from his more jazz oriented work. I like both. Tell me more about your musicial taste. I am curious. And do you like what I am trying to achieve with these long-playing selections for “Music for Backgrounds”?

      January 14, 2012 at 10:41 am

  2. Yes, I find it VERY interesting. I’d maybe alter the word “backgrounds”. As a musician I can never hear it as background and not get “involved” , but then i think you hear it like that too[?] It’s exactly because of the involvement that I find it interesting anyway. I wouldn’t know where to begin on my musical taste! Something as corny as: from Shostakovich to Brad Mehldau and Arvo Part to Ministry! [I think it’d be better if I referred you to my musical sites: http://www.myspace.com/mk-o & http://www.youtube.com/user/mkomusic%5D

    January 14, 2012 at 11:21 am

    • First of all I will definitely check out the links you have sent me. LOOKING forward to it. I guess I use the term “Backgrounds” as a reference to Brian Eno (considered by most to be the founder of “ambient music”). In that regard, the music is played at a very low volume, barely audible. (There is an interesting story to how Eno came to discover this). I will comment on it later with you. But you are correct, there is an absorbing of the music…making it more than background music. Even the most “discreet music” (another Eno term, and fine album I must say) draws you in and grabs your attention.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:33 am

  3. thanks for posting him. His music is excellent!

    January 14, 2012 at 11:43 am

    • It is my pleasure Xandi. Let me say that I am amazed at the selection you provide on your blog. Music I cannot hear anywhere else with such regularity.

      January 14, 2012 at 11:54 am

  4. Beautifully haunting music… I love it. 😉

    January 15, 2012 at 3:53 am

    • Thanks Liz. I thought this track would be right down your alley. It is quite haunting and calming simultaneously.

      January 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm

  5. I appreciate the intro. Many thanks, Walter. Guess what is going to be playing while I work on the computer for the next hour… 🙂

    January 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    • Thanks Souldipper for your kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the piece. The music is so soothing and meditative. Perfect for quiet moments.

      January 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm

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