Thad Jones

Thaddeus Joseph (March 28, 1923 to August 21, 1986) is an American jazz trumpeter and composer. He was also a bandleader. He was the tenth child in a musical family. His older brother, pianist Hank Jones, was his father and his younger brother, drummer Elvin Jones was his brother. Thad Jones was an accomplished musician who began performing professionally at the age of 16. During World War II (1943-1946), he served in the U.S. Army bands. Thad Jones continued to be a professional musician after the war. He eventually met Count Basie, who arranged, composed and performed for him in 1954. Basie remained with Jones for nine years. Thad was praised for his contributions to Basie’s music, but not for Thad’s solo work. Jones’ music is stylistically unique and doesn’t always fit with the Basie group, which he left in 1963. He became a performer and arranger in New York City in the early 1960s. He and Mel Lewis, the drummer, formed the Thad/Mel Lewis Big Band in 1965. Initial sessions were informal jam sessions between New York’s best studio musicians at night. They eventually started performing at the Village Vanguard to great acclaim and Jones remained the leader for twelve years. Their 1979 album, Live in Munich, won them a Grammy Award. Jones was also a professor at William Paterson College, New Jersey. To the surprise of his New York bandmates, Thad moved to Copenhagen in 1978, where he met several jazz musicians. He formed the new band Eclipse and composed music for The Danish Radio Big Band. He also taught jazz at Copenhagen’s Royal Danish Conservatory. Jones returned to the U.S. one year prior to his death to lead the Count Basie Orchestra, but was forced to resign due to ill-health. For the final months of his life, he returned to Copenhagen, where he was a resident. After being in hospital for several months, he died on August 21, 1986. His cause of death has not been published. He was also survived by a six-year-old child named Thad Jones, whom he shared with his wife Lis. He is buried in Vestre Kirkegard Cemetery (Western Churchyard Cemetery). [1] Charles Mingus referred to Jones “… as the greatest trumpet player he’d ever heard. His composing and arrangement skills were more important than his playing abilities in later years. The standard A Child is Born is his most well-known composition. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.

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