Carl Jackson was born in London and studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Malcolm Hill and Alan Harverson. He also held organ scholarships at the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, and at Downing College, Cambridge, where he was a pupil of Peter Hurford. He obtained a postgraduate teaching certificate at Goldsmiths’ College (University of London) before embarking upon a thirty-six-year teaching career, from which he retired in 2018.
Carl was Organist of Croydon Parish Church (now Croydon Minster) from 1986–1990, Sub Organist of the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace, from 1990–1993, and Assistant Director of Music at St Peter's Church, Eaton Square, from 1993–1996. In October 1996, he returned again to the Chapel Royal at Hampton Court on his appointment as Director of Music. He has broadcast with the chapel choir on radio and television – notably in The Queen’s Christmas Message 2010 and in two documentaries for BBC Four.
As an accompanist he has worked with Sir Willard White, and with the Elysian Singers of London with whom he appears on their CD of the music of James MacMillan (Signum Records). Distinctions include Associateship of the Royal Academy of Music and of the Royal School of Church Music, and Honorary Fellowship of the Guild of Church Musicians. He was appointed MVO in the 2012 New Year Honours list.