Cultural Percussionist

Jonah Jones Day

Jonah Jones (born Robert Elliott Jones; December 31, 1909 – April 29, 2000) was a jazz trumpeter who created concise versions of jazz and swingand jazz standards that appealed to a mass audience. In the jazz community, it can be argued that he might be best appreciated for his work with Stuff Smith. He was sometimes referred to as “King Louis II,” a reference to Louis Armstrong. Jones started playing alto saxophone at the age of 12 in the Booker T. Washington Community Center band in Louisville, Kentucky before quickly transitioning to trumpet, where he excelled.

Jones was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Jones began his career playing on a river boat named Island Queen, which traveled between Kentucky and Ohio. He began in the 1920s playing on Mississippi riverboats and then in 1928 he joined with Horace Henderson. Later he worked with Jimmie Lunceford and had an early collaboration with Stuff Smith in 1932. From 1932 to 1936 he had a successful collaboration with Smith, but in the 1940s he worked in big bands like Benny Carter‘s and Fletcher Henderson‘s. He would spend most of a decade with Cab Calloway‘s band which later became a combo.

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