Jazz gurus (self appointed or otherwise) typically dismiss Jonah Jones as a piece of fluff, more interested in dispensing sterilized jazz pablum to the public rather than being creative and innovative. Jones decided not to climb on the Be Bop train of the 1940's and 1950's, pretty much ignoring the new paths being struck by fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. I always suspected that Jones' choice to stick with swing and traditional jazz rankled those same gurus who felt that his talent demanded he do more.
On Jumpin' with Jonah Capital Records has cobbled together quartet sessions cut in 1958 in New York under the production leadership of Dave Cavanaugh. With the quartet at that time was Hank Jones (no relation, as Jonah was not one of the famous Jones' jazz brothers), who shows his amazing pianist versatility. Listen to Hank have some bar room piano fun on "That's A Plenty" while Jonah swings mightily on this 1909 ditty. Although not given enough credit for it, Jones could do ballad pretty well. He plays and sings the tune Louis Armstrong made famous, "A Kiss to Build a Dream" on with appropriate fervor. Jones wisely doesn't try to copy Armstrong (he didn't have the equipment), instead relying on his understated form of vocalizing. The vocal is followed by a leisurely, pleasant trumpet solo, with mute. Jones was quite adept with the mute as on "The Blues Don't Care (Who's Got `Em)" distorting his bright shouting sound with raucous growls to create an exaggerated sense of the blues.
Even though less than 40 minutes worth of music, this recommended album is important to show that one doesn't need to blaze new paths to be a significant jazz player.
Track Listing: No Moon at All; Baby, Won't You Please Come Home#; Bill Bailey (Won't You Please Come Home); The Blues Don't Care (Who Got `Em); Jumpin' with Jonah; Just a Gigolo; It's a Good Day#; Dance only with Me; Lots of Luck Charley; A Kiss to Build a Dream on; That's A Plenty#; Moten Swing; Slowly But Surely; Night Train; Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?; Ballin' the Jack
Personnel: Jonah Jones - Trumpet/Vocals#; Hank Jones - Piano; John Brown - Bass; Harold Austin - Drums
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total)
First time I met Lee Konitz, my mentor who completely changed my life, in 1992. He was giving a masterclass at the Cologne Conservatory (Germany) where I was a freshmen (with playing experience around three years total). He saw an alto sax on my neck and said: Hey, how about you there, would you like to play something for us? I played a piece with the piano. OK, said Lee, how about you play something unaccompanied? Oh yeah! I was deep into transcribing Sonny Stitt and pretty much into playing as fast as possible as many right notes as possible. So I played Oleo in about 300 beats per minute and was very proud of myself. Lee was tapping his foot all the way through. Hmm, he said, that was in time and all that... (I thought - yeah, of course, haha!) and then he said, You've got a lot of quantity, how about quality? It took me 15 years to realize what he meant.