JACKSON JR, BENJAMIN CLARENCE BULL MOOSE (22 April 1919 - 31 July 1989), was a prominent African-American blues singer and saxophone player whose musical career boomed in the 1940’s.
Benjamin Clarence Jackson Jr was born in 1919 to Benjamin Clarence Sr., and Margaret Jackson at MT. SINAI MEDICAL CENTER in Cleveland, Ohio. As a youth in the 1930’s, Jackson was persuaded into showing interest in playing the violin by his parents. Later, he preferred to pursue his musical interests by way of playing the saxophone. Jackson created a high school performing group called, The Harlem Hotshots with some of his local friends. The group briefly toured between Cleveland and Buffalo, New York. Around 1943, Jackson was noticed while touring by Lucky Millindler, who sought to incorporate Jackson’s saxophone skills into his orchestra. Interestingly, Jackson’s famous moniker, “Bull Moose”, was garnered while he was a member of the Lucky Millinder Orchestra, and this name would stick with Jackson until he passed away. It would also be during his performances with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra, that Bull Moose Jackson solidified his those qualities that brought him fame as a saxophonist, and a singer.
The versatility of Bull Moose Jackson’s performances is observed throughout the many styles, and genres of American music he synthesized and helped evolve into what is contemporaneously known as the genres of Rhythm and Blues, Dirty Blues, Jump Blues, and Jazz. As the American musical culture developed after WWII, new styles became more prevalent on the radio. Jackson, along with some members of the Lucky Millinder Orchestra, formed their own band known as the Buffalo Bearcats. Between 1945 and 1960, Jackson would fashion some of his best known songs, “All My Love Belongs, to You,” and "Cleveland Ohio Blues". His 1947 ballad hit "I Love You, Yes I Do,” reportedly was one of the first rhythm and blues records to sell a million copies. Bull Moose Jackson was also well known as a highly diverse artist who could incorporate sub-genres of music, such as romance ballads, jazz, blues, country and western, and blend them into fresh and lively renditions of his own.
Performing on tours with the Buffalo Bearcats gave Jackson the experiences of an elite musician, but unfortunately, not the exposure necessary to finance the tours. From the early 1960’s until around 1983, Jackson changed his career from being a musician to working in the catering business. In 1983 Carl Grefensette, a Bull Moose Jackson performance enthusiast, enlisted Jackson to sing in his band called The Flashcats. This union revived Jackson's influence as a performer and brought him to the attention of new audiences which led to numerous sold-out concerts in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By 1985 Jackson was popular in Europe. Jackson never married nor had children. He died in 1989 from lung cancer in Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of 70.