The son of keyboardist Andrew Pryce Jackman (from the rock band "The Syn"), Henry Jackman's musical career can be traced all the way back to when he studied classical music at St Paul’s Cathedral Choir School, Eton College and Oxford University. Equally significant was his production work for the likes of Mike Oldfield and Elton John, contributing to the former's "Woman of Ireland" in 1997 and the latter's "Written in the Stars" (in 1999, with Leann Rimes). Already the two seemingly disparate sides of the future composer were formulating, Jackman clearly possessing an ability in, and an affinity for, both the pop and classical fields.
Such experience and studious application clearly impressed Hans Zimmer: the composer took Jackman under his wing as arranger and additional composer on films such as "The Dark Knight" and The Simpsons Movie. Recently though there are thrilling signs that Jackman is stepping out of the colossal shadow of his mentor. He took his first step into the solo career spotlight in 2009, with his score for Dreamworks' acclaimed sci-fi throwback animation "Monsters vs. Aliens". Following that was his effort for director Jo Baier's "Henri 4" in 2010, but the next harbinger, his contribution to the eclectic score to Matthew Vaughn's "Kick Ass", was to prove even more significant. Amidst a somewhat piecemeal soundtrack album, which liberally sourced both rock tracks (Bad Reputation) and popular pre-existing soundtrack pieces (For a Few Dollars More), as well as music from other composers such as John Murphy, Jackman’s noble sense of musical heroism both thrills and amps up the level of satire in the film itself.
Clearly benefiting from his multifaceted musical background, and also clearly emboldened by his extensive work for Zimmer, from here Jackman could only get better and better. And get better he has. His final 2010 score for Jack Black's Gulliver's Travels capped off a remarkable year and earmarked him as a real talent to watch. Distilling the classic adventurous sound of John Williams in a way all too infrequently heard nowadays, Travels was a fabulous score, benefiting from a firm emphasis on themes, melody and strong robust action music. Next up is a collaboration with Zimmer himself on the score for "Winnie the Pooh". At this stage, it's worth pointing out the importance of Zimmer's own influence in nurturing talented young composers through his Remote Control stable. Although Zimmer has his critics, that he's able to foster such talents as Jackman is indicative of his power for good in the industry.
And whatever Henry Jackman does next (X-Men First Class for example - another Vaughn score), he can be sure Zimmer will be watching with pride, as will all the collaborators from earlier in his career.
It’s early days in Jackman’s career yet but Kick-Ass and Gulliver’s Travels are recommended if listeners want to understand what he’s capable of as a composer in his own right. Following these new scores are now emerging on a regular basis with Puss in Boots, Man on a Ledge, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Wreck-It Ralph all receiving soundtrack releases.