Swing trumpeter Jonah Jones was quite popular in the late 1950s when this recording was made. He had begun his professional career performing on Mississippi riverboats in the 1920s with smaller trad jazz ensembles and had moved into the big band arena early. From 1941 to 1952 Jones performed with the Cab Calloway orchestra. That exciting swing dance feeling carries over to his 1958 LP Jumpin’ With Jonah Jones
, particularly with bouncy numbers such as "Just a Gigolo," "Moten Swing," "Dance Only With Me," "Slowly but Surely" and the title track. The reissue also includes numbers that represent Jones’ eclectic style, such as the Dixieland strummer "That’s a Plenty" and the slower, drawling "Ballin’ the Jack." Four tracks are bonus numbers, included from other Capitol albums.
The bassist and drummer with Jones on these albums were part of his regular trio; Hank Jones appeared as a guest. The pianist’s distinctive improvising complements the trumpeter and leaves much to pique the listener’s interest, particularly on "A Kiss to Build a Dream On." Hank Jones can be heard on "That’s a Plenty" providing the tailgate trombone part (on piano, of course). Both pianist and drummer have stellar solos on that number, while the bassist John Brown gets his moment in the spotlight on "Ballin’ the Jack." Elsewhere, he and his rhythm trio partners provide solid swing era accompaniment for the leader.
Jonah Jones was an entertainer who connected with the audience through lovely melodies that he both sang and played on trumpet. Continuing to perform after retirement age, Jones was still leading his quartet in the 1980s. His final performance was in November 1999 during a Jazz Foundation of America benefit concert at the Blue Note club in Greenwich Village, New York. Jones passed away on April 30, 2000. He was 91.