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Local Saxophonist Dubbed Living Legend

Above: Saxophonist Daniel Jackson will receive the lifetime achievement award at the San Diego Music Awards later this fall.

Aired 8/22/13 on KPBS News.

Saxophonist Daniel Jackson is set to receive lifetime achievement awards from two organizations.

Jackson recently performed with German organist Barbara Dennerlein in front of 2,000 people in Balboa Park.

Daniel Jackson is receiving a lot of awards these days. The titles often include words like “legend” and “lifetime.”

"Yeah, you start worrying," said the 76-year-old Jackson with a laugh. "How old am I anyway and is this what it takes?"

Jackson, who I profiled in January, has been playing the saxophone since he was a kid. He later taught himself to play piano — first to impress a girl, but it ended up paying the bills.

He played for diners at the Hotel Del Coronado and Croce’s restaurant, where he played for 30 years. But the saxophone is where Jackson made his mark, playing on the road with Ray Charles' band, gigging on San Diego stages and teaching up-and-coming musicians.

Jackson said the awards are humbling, but they don’t distract him from his goal "to get to that music."

The Living Legend Foundation honors African American jazz musicians. The award means a lot to Jackson.

"What’s special about this one is it’s black people honoring black people," Jackson explained.

Jackson said he’s excited to see musicians he played with back in the '60s at the awards dinner.

Like most musicians, he’s struggled to make a living playing music, but Jackson said he has no regrets.

"I know a lot of people come into this world and have no idea what to do or what their life is supposed to be," he said. "I do have an idea of what I’m suppose to do. I feel good about that and I want to keep doing it."

Jackson will also receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Diego Music Awards on Oct. 9.

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