Jonah Jones

Jonah Jones, a talented and charismatic trumpeter, discovered a formula that made him a big attraction for a decade. He played concise versions of melodic jazz standards and show tunes muted by a quartet. Jones was a vital trumpeter for over two decades, even though he was only discovered by non-jazz audiences in the late 1950s. Jones began his career on a Mississippi riverboat during the 1920s. Jones freelanced in the Midwest, including with Horace Henderson (1931), and had an initial stint with Stuff Smith (1932-1934). He then spent some time with Lil Armstrong’s orchestra and McKinney’s Cotton Pickers (declining). Jones was well-known for his work with Stuff Smith’s Onyx band (1936-1940), where he recorded many memorable solos. Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, and Jones were his gigging partners. He was a popular soloist with Cab Calloway (1941-1952), and stayed with him even after the big band became a combination. Jones was a Dixieland player with Earl Hines (1952-1953), toured Europe with Fletcher Henderson (1941-1952), and then led his band at the Embers (1955), where he mastered his highly successful formula. He recorded many hits, including the shuffle version “On the Street Where You Live”, which was his first hit. In addition to a series of albums for Capitol from 1957 to 1963, he switched to Decca for a few quartet albums between 1965 and 1967. Jonah Jones recorded a great date with Earl Hines (1972), and he still plays on an occasional basis in 1980s and early 1990s. He died April 30, 2000 at the age of 91.

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