Jackie Washington would’ve been 100 on Tuesday, and musical friends are celebrating him this week
Jackie Washington was born on Nov. 12, 1919 in Hamilton, ON, the second oldest of 13 children. The young Jackie began performing at age five, and over his almost 90 years gave untold happiness to thousands of people across Canada. Right after the Second World War, he became Canada’s first black disc jockey. He had a repertoire of over 1,256 songs as well as a remarkable memory for people, places, birthdays and trains, among many other things. His song “Alone In The Dark,” from the Juno nominated-recording he made with Mose Scarlett and Ken Whiteley, was selected by the Canada Council as one of the songs honoured to mark 100 years of recorded music in Canada. He was a living connection to early African Canadian music, the swing era and much more. He received many awards and honours including an Honorary Doctorate from McMaster University, but it was his positive attitude to life that really made him so loved.
Jackie earned a Juno nomination and was inducted into Hamilton’s Gallery of Distinction in 1995 and the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame in 2002.
Join us for a musical celebration with Ken Whiteley, Jackie’s niece, Shawn Washington-Purser, Luckystickz and the Steward Memorial Church Choir today, 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hamilton Public Library, Hamilton Room.
We’ll also be celebrating Jackie’s life and music with a special afternoon concert with Sneezy Waters, Chris Whiteley, John Sheard, Victor Bateman and host Ken Whiteley on Sunday, Nov. 17 at Hugh’s Room Live in Toronto. This concert will celebrate the Borealis release of The World Of Jackie Washington, a new album of 22 unreleased performances with contributions from Colin Linden, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Mose Scarlett, Graham Townsend, Reg Schwager and producer Ken Whiteley. The package also includes the documentary DVD I Want To Be Happy.