Go-Go musician Byron ‘BJ' Jackson dies at 52

Remembering Go-Go legend Byron "BJ" Jackson

WASHINGTON - Byron “BJ” Jackson was a musical genius.  Not only did he play the drums, keys, and bass; he sang, wrote, and produced scores of songs of all different musical genre.  When he wasn't in the recording studio, BJ was living life on stage.

A gifted yet humble artist who never needed the spot light to shine, BJ was pure magic on stage.

“People like BJ only God can do that,” said long-time friend and Team Familiar bandmate Donnell Floyd, “only God can give you that kind of gift.” 

“That’s right,” agreed Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson of Rare Essence, “he was what he was supposed to be. 

Like Michael Jordan was supposed to be a basketball player, BJ was supposed to be a musician.” 

If Go-Go is the heartbeat of DC, BJ was the blood line that pumped through.  His soundtrack - the gifts he leaves long-time friends and bandmates Andre “Whiteboy” Johnson from Rare Essence and Donnell Floyd of Team Familiar.

“His lines were so melodic,” said Floyd, “if there were a thousand keyboard players and I was blindfolded I could walk my way to BJ.” 

BJ played three, 45 minutes sets with Team Familiar one week before his death. 

Though he knew the end was near, he was at peace with God’s plan and he played through the pain for the love of music. 

In fact, Team Familiar had 2 shows after he passed on Sunday, they had to cut the first show short.  “We just stopped the band and everybody cried,” Floyd recalled.

“He was just a genuine guy, everybody loved him, he never argued,” said Johnson his voice cracking with emotion, “he was a great musician and to lose a person like that, it’s rough – he was my friend.”

In his 30 year career, BJ also played Meshell Ndegeocello, Maxwell, Arrested Development, Ledisi, Lalah Hathaway and many others.

“This morning Team Familiar and the Go-Go world has lost one of the all-time greats. Rest in peace Byron Jackson. Your music and your memory will live in our hearts forever,” the band, Team Familiar, wrote on its Facebook page.

 


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