Oliver Jones

Oliver was born in Saint Henri and raised there. Oliver would often sit on the Peterson porch and listen to his older brother practice. Oscar’s sister Daisy Peterson Sweeney became his first piano teacher. Lessons continued for the next 12 years. These lessons strengthened young Jones’ already impressive skills. Oliver began performing publicly at the age of five and was only nine when he made his first nightclub appearance. Oliver Jones’ six-decade-long musical career has been varied and rich. After his classical music education, Jones went on to Montreal’s Cafe St-Michel where he entertained patrons with his acrobatic piano moves. Jones was able to play any style of music from his teens through his twenties. Jazz was not considered an option back then. When the opportunity presented itself to be Kenny Hamilton’s musical director and pianist, this diverse training was invaluable. Jones and his young son moved to Puerto Rico with Jones’ wife. They stayed there for sixteen more years with the Hamilton Band. Although popular music satisfied his practical needs, it didn’t satisfy his artistic desires. Jones was a keen participant in local jazz clubs, and would often take advantage of opportunities to meet other musicians while on tour with Hamilton. Oliver Jones, a jazz professional, returned to Montreal in 1980. Biddle’s, a now-defunct downtown jazz club that Charlie Biddle ran, was where he started his career. Jones realized his dream three years later after meeting Jim West, founder of Justin Time Records. There was much hilarity surrounding Charlie and me. We were asked to perform any jazz-related task. My first recording was complete. In truth, I was shocked because it took 30 years to dream of something. …” Justin Time Records first recording was Oliver Jones with Charlie Biddles. It was called Live at Biddles and Jones was the first time he was a leader. Oliver Jones’ association to Justin Time has resulted in a remarkable catalogue of recordings, whose sidemen are amongst the best jazz. Have Fingers, Will Travel (1997) was recorded by Ray Brown, bass legend, and Jeff Hamilton, drummer. This great trio session was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. It features songs like “Street Of Dreams”, “If I Were A Bell” and “My Romance”. Lush to Lively (1995), Jones demonstrated his unrivalled status as Canada’s greatest gift to the piano in a big-band setting. Oliver’s unmistakable finesse was evident in the recording: Oliver demonstrated lightning-fast technique and solid articulation. He also displayed powerful lyricism, a strong lyricism, and rollicking rhythms. Then and Now, a delightful session with Skip Bey the bassist, consists of recordings made between 1986 and 2002. Oliver was captured live at the Montreal Bistro by Just In Time with Dave Young, Norm Villeneuve and Oliver. Yuletide Swing (1994), an excellent seasonal recording that won Oliver a Felix (Quebec’s “Grammy”) award for best jazz recording. Jones’ trademark flair revives familiar favorites. Oliver’s second solo album, Just 88 was recorded in New Orleans in 1993. It features sparkling versions such as “I’m Getting Serious Over You” or “Willow Weep For Me” as well as Jones’ originals “Blues For Laurentian U” and “Dizzy-Nest”; it was also awarded a Felix. A Class Act (1991), featuring Ed Thigpen, a long-time Oscar Peterson alumnus, on drums and Steve Wallace as bassist, featured a classic jazz trio sound. This recording features memorable renditions of “Very Early”, and “Hymn to Freedom”. Clark Terry, the Trumpet Legend, added his magic to Just Friends. This 1990 session was later honored with a Juno Award (“Jazz Recording of the Year”)). Oliver Jones isn’t just an inspiration for the arts community. He is also the proud recipient the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, which recognizes his contributions to Canada’s Black Community and his hometown of Montreal. He was presented with the Order of Quebec in 1993, which is the highest honor given to a province. The Order of Canada was then awarded for his “outstanding achievement” in the arts the following year. Jones also toured China that year with Barry Elmes and bassist Dave Young. Oliver is a regular performer at Festival International de Jazz de Montreal. He has been asked several times to open the festival, and on more than one occasion has been part of its closing gala. “I believe the exposure I received at the Montreal Jazz Festival was really what led to the world hearing Oliver Jones,” said the artist. He made his last appearance at the Festival with Oscar Peterson. The two performed together for the first-time in public, before a sold out crowd at Montreal’s Place Des Arts. Jones, who is still semi-retired from public performances, visited Ranee Lee’s recording studio to record their album, Just You, Just Me. They are the co-leaders of the quartet recording. Eric Lagace and drummer Dave Laing also contribute to it. The album was released to wide acclaim in June 2005 and won the Toronto Urban Music Award in November 2005 for Best Jazz Recording. Oliver was also honored in Ottawa that month by Canada’s Governor General Michaelle Jean as a recipient the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, which recognizes lifetime artistic achievement. He was also praised by his esteemed collaborators, singer k.d. Lang, Jackie Burroughs, choreographer Peter Boneham and Marcel Dube, playwright, and cultural entrepreneur Moses Znaimer were also praised. Oliver joined Dave Young, a stalwart bassist, and Jim Doxas, a young powerhouse drummer, to record the album in the fall 2005. The June 2006 release featured several tracks featuring horns. Ingrid Jensen, a trumpet star, and Chet Doxas, a rising tenor-sax player, made the session a Canadian affair. Jones, who is known for his support of young Canadian talent, also hired some of the best examples. Oliver named the opus One More Time, perhaps in reference to his return to the concert stage and recording studio after a brief, but highly publicized, retirement. In a career that has seen many great achievements, this is one of his finest recordings. Oliver’s 2007 recording Second Time Around, which he recorded with drummer Jim Doxas, and bassist Eric Lagace won the Juno Award as Best Mainstream Jazz Recording. Pleased to Meet You was released in October 2009 and features Hank Jones as the pianist. Unfortunately, Hank Jones died in May 2010. This recording also features Brandi Disterheft, a new Justin Time signing, and Jim Doxas, on drums. The men pay tribute to Oscar Peterson, their mutual friend, by using the passing of Oscar Peterson as a starting point. from http://www.justin-time.com Oliver Jones was already in his fifties when he was discovered by the jazz world. At seven years old, Jones began playing piano. He studied with Daisy Peterson, Oscar Peterson’s sister. His style is still influenced by Peterson. Jones was a member of show bands and worked alongside Ken Hamilton (1963-1980), a pop singer who lived mainly in Puerto Rico. He decided to play jazz full-time only after he returned home to Montreal in 1980. Oliver Jones, a prominent modern player and recording artist for Justin Time, has been recording extensively since the mid-80s. He is known for his impressive technique and hard-swinging style. Allmusic

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