Home » Jazz Musicians » Leonard E. Jones

Leonard E. Jones

Leonard E. Jones, born 1943 in Chicago, Illinois grew up in a rich musical environment on the near westside of the city that has had a everlasting impression on his life. His family lived above Vi´s Lounge where many blues artist such as Muddy Waters, Howlin´Wolf and Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley, etc., regularly appeared in the 1950's. The famous Zanzibar Lounge was located in the neighborhood just two blocks away. At seventeen Jones volunteered for the U.S. Army and after being stationed in Bad Kreuznach, Germany, he purchased his first double bass and received rudimentary instruction from a bassist in the army band that was also on the same barracks.

After being discharged from the military in 1963, Jones returned to Chicago. He began studying the bass privately with Mr. Rudolph Fahsbender, bassist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1964, through an introduction from the bassist Charles Clark, he met Muhal Richard Abrams. Mr. Abrams was the leader of the Experimental Band, a forum for musicians looking for an environment conducive to their own creative inclinations. He was invited to participate in the groups rehearsals and began, as well, theoretical studies with Mr. Abrams. The Experimental Band rehearsals were a vital learning experience for a young novice.

In May 1965, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) was founded and Jones became a member in June. During that same year he began an association with the bassist Wilbur Ware, which was rewarding musically, but more so on a human level. Mr. Ware was an exceptional person. Jones attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music for one year, still under the tutoring of Mr. Fahsbender. He also participated in David Beth´s bass school, bassist with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. His activities until leaving Chicago centered around AACM functions and playing in more standard situations.

In June, 1969 Jones expatriated to Europe for five years, marrying, taking time out from music to study photography from 1970 to 1972, at the Hochschule für bildende Kunst (art academy) in Hamburg, Germany. He performed with Henry Threadgill and Wadada Leo Smith in 1971. Jones spent six months traveling through southern Europe and Morocco in 1972 before returning to Munich to join with Smith, performing as a duo in 1973-74. In July 1974 he returned with his family to Chicago.

As a member of the Muhal Richard Abrams group Jones moved to New York in August 1977 and remained there until returning to Europe in 1980. He lived in Munich, working with Lezek Zadlo, Frank St. Peter and the band New Trace. In the 1980´s and 1990´s he toured and performed festivals in Europe and Africa with Lou Blackburn´s International Quartet and Mombasa, Alvin Queen Sextet, the Sun Ra Arkestra, with the Jack Walrath and Mike Clark Group, Hank Crawford and David Newman Group, Dave Burrell, Mal Waldron and Sonny Simmons. Jones also worked in a cooperative trio with Moo Lohkenn and Lou Grassi.

Read more



Album Discography

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The Lake and the Music

JazzSick Records


Dialogues -...

JazzSick Records



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.