Papa Jo Jones
October 7, 1911 – September 3, 1985

Papa Jo Jones
Jo Jones shifted the timekeeping role of the drums from the bass drum to the hi-hat cymbal, greatly influencing all swing and bop drummers. Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson were just two who learned from his light but forceful playing, as Jones swung the Count Basie Orchestra with just the right accents and sounds.

After growing up in Alabama, Jones worked as a drummer and tap-dancer with carnival shows. He joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in Oklahoma City in the late '20s. After a period with Lloyd Hunter's band in Nebraska, Jones moved to Kansas City in 1933, joining Count Basie's band the following year.

He went with Basie to New York in 1936 and with Count, Freddie Green and Walter Page he formed one of the great rhythm sections. Jones was with the Basie band (other than 1944-46 when he was in the military) until 1948 and in later years he participated in many reunions with Basie alumni.

He was on some Jazz at the Philharmonic tours and recorded in the 1950s with Illinois Jacquet, Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington among others; Jones appeared at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival with both Basie and the Coleman Hawkins-Roy Eldridge Sextet.

Jo Jones led sessions for Vanguard (1955 and 1959) and Everest (1959-60), a date for Jazz Odyssey on which he reminisced and played drum solos (1970) and mid-'70s sessions for Pablo and Denon. In later years he was known as "Papa" Jo Jones and thought of as a wise if brutally frank elder statesman.

Mr. Hi-Hat

Papa Jo Jones
The Alumni of the Count Basie Band of 1943
Fine Brushwork

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Papa Jo Jones

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Papa Jo Jones - Ray Bauduc

"Papa" Jo Jones:

ones' most significant work was with the Count Basie band of 1934 to 1948. Examples of Jones' stellar playing as a member of "The All American Rhythm Section" (Jones, Basie, Walter Page and Freddie Green) abound. Works include: "The Complete Decca Recordings 1937-1939" (GRP / Decca label), "The Essential Count Basie Volumes One Two and Three" (covering the same years, on the Columbia / Okeh label), "Count Basie 1938 to 1939" (Jazz Chronological Classics label), "Count At The Chatterbox" (1937: Jazz Archive), and the hard-to-find "Golden Years Volumes One to Five" (1941-1945: EPM label).

Jones' fine work as a featured artist in the Jazz At The Philharmonic troupe, including his participation in the original "Perdido," can be heard on many tracks in Verve's boxed set, "The Complete Jazz At The Philharmonic On Verve 1944 to 1949." Jones' two works as a leader are still on the market. They are "The Essential Jo Jones" (1955: Vanguard) and with a group of Count Basie alumni on "The Main Man" (1976: Fantasy / OJC label).

For those who want to "see" classic Jones in action, he participated in two filmed events that have been commercially-issued on video, including "Jazz On A Summer's Day" from the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival where he backs none other than Chuck Berry, and the legendary television show from 1957, "The Sound of Jazz."

Papa Jo Jones
The Alumni of the Count Basie Band of 1943
Buck Clayton - Buddy Tate - Earle Warren - Dicky Wells

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Papa Jo Jones - Count Basie
Dickie's Dream
Ben Webster - Benny Morton - Joe Wilder - Gerry Mulligan - Vic Dickenson
Roy Eldridge - Emmett Berry - Coleman Hawkins - Dickie Wells - Joe Newman

All Papa Jo JonesVideos are

Papa Jo Jones in the Swiss Alps....

Papa Jo Jones - Count Basie

Sam Woodyard - Papa Jo Jones

Teddy Wilson - Lester Young - Papa Jo Jones

Buddy Rich, Papa Jo Jones, Gene Krupa

Count Basie - Papa Jo Jones

George Wettling - Gene Krupa - Papa JoJones -
Sonny Greer - Zutty Singleton - Art Blakey

early years...

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