The music world is in mourning this week after it was revealed that Wayne Jackson, the trumpet player who helped define the soul sound of Stax Records along with tenor saxophonist Andrew Love, died on Tuesday in Memphis. He was 74 years-old.
His wife Amy Jackson told reporters that the cause of his death was heart failure.
Born on Nov. 24, 1941, Jackson had his first gold record when he was still in high school after performing on the instrumental “Last Night” with the Mar-Keys. This hit rose to number 3 on the pop charts in 1961. Jackson and Love incorporated themselves as the Memphis Horns in 1969, and they were constantly sought after by artists like Elvis Presley, Al Green, Rod Stewart, Steve Winwood, Bonnie Raitt, U2 and Willie Nelson.
In 2012, the same year Love died, the Memphis Horns were given a lifetime achievement award at the Grammy’s. Neil Portnow, the president of the Recording Academy, called them “the breath of soul” when he presented the award.
Aside from his wife, Jackson is survived by a brother, a sister, and four children. In a 2014 interview with American Blues Scene magazine, he said he had no regrets about his chosen career.
“Me and that trumpet had it all,” Jackson said. “That was my ticket. I punched that ticket and I rode that bus.”
Rest in peace, Wayne Jackson!