Lorenzo Dwayne Jackson’s lifelong mission to bring the noise began at the tender age of three. He marched into a church choir rehearsal in his living room, sat himself down at the drum kit and insisted he be allowed to play. His father surrendered a pair of drum sticks, young D refused to put them down, and so it began. By age five, D had earned a spot in the drummers’ rotation at Full Gospel Holy Temple Church in Dallas, Texas. When Dwayne relocated to Austin at age eight to attend the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, his early talent was recognized and he was accelerated into a music program with older children. Soon D was playing violin in orchestra, baritone and trombone in marching band, bass in jazz band and keyboards on the side. When he was just 13, D and a few upperclassmen formed a soul band. Armed with a set list full of Stevie Wonder and Sly and the Family Stone covers, they landed a happy hour gig at Trudy’s, a campus watering hole just south of their school. By the time D graduated from high school in 1993, his capacity for true musical mastery was already established. He had traveled with a youth jazz band to Vienna, Austria to take top honors in an international competition, and performed at several prestigious jazz festivals including those in Montreux, Switzerland, and Montreal, Quebec. Throughout the early 1990’s, the bulk of Dwayne’s musical work centered around the positive vibrations of reggae music. He played bass, drums and sang with Austin-based reggae powerhouses such as Tribal Nation and Root One. He toured the Western U.S. and opened for massive Jamaican acts including the Maytals, the Wailers and Culture. Still playing reggae in 1995, D felt a need to return to his soulful roots and began playing in a funk band called Biscuit. D complemented his regular gig schedule with cameo appearances with all sorts of Austin artists, from Tunji and Larry to Carl Settles and Hairy Apes BMX. Around the turn of the millennium, hip hop began to rage through the clubs in Austin. Dwayne found himself in the center of the storm as a rhythm player for Hip Hop Humpday, a weekly event that ran for three years and hosted some of the finest DJs and MCs in Texas. Backed by a core of solid instrumentalists, D played whatever the improv gigs called for — drums, keys, bass, vocal percussion, etc. D became a regular contributor to many hip hop artists’ recordings, including Nicknack and Bavu Blakes. His playing also received international attention as he collaborated on an instrumental track called “Life Goes On” with premier Japanese DJ and hip hop producer DJ Krush. A lifetime of playing various instruments and styles of music synthesized for D in 1999 with the quiet launch of his solo project, D-Madness. Dwayne astounded audiences as he appeared as a one-man band, singing soulful love songs while playing bass, drums and keyboards simultaneously. In 2001, Dwayne began a lengthy recording process to capture his true voice. In the studio, with the freedom to focus on each instrument individually and layer vocal tracks to create desired effects, D was able to fully realize the culmination of his years as a musician. The result is a rich collection of original tracks. D’s first solo effort, “Vex Dem”, is a mature soulful EP that blends lush vocal harmonies with smooth jazz and funk. In the tradition of soul artists like Angie Stone and D’Angelo and Avant Jazz greats such as Karl Denson, “Vex Dem” offers introverted love songs sung with the depth that will touch anyone who has ever had the courage to care. “Vex Dem” includes wide-ranging instrumental tracks that move with grooves so accessible they almost betray their inner complexity. With a unique sensibility and driving energy, the debut of D’s solo work is certain to earn him a well-deserved place among the new generation of outstanding artists who are shaping the future of music. **Profile by Deborah
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