Cultural Percussionist

Philly Joe Jones Day

Joseph RudolphPhilly JoeJones (July 15, 1923 – August 30, 1985) was a Philadelphia-born American jazz drummer, known as the drummer for the first “Great” Miles Davis Quintet. He should not be confused with another jazz drummer, Papa Jo Jones, who had a long tenure with Count Basie. The two men died only a few days apart.

As a child, Jones appeared as a featured tap dancer on The Kiddie Show on the Philadelphia radio Station WIP. He was in the US Army during World War II.

In 1947 he became the house drummer at Café Society in New York City, where he played with the leading bebop players of the day. Among them, the most important influence on Jones was Tadd Dameron. Jones toured and recorded with Miles Davis Quintet from 1955 to 1958—a band that became known as “The Quintet” (along with Red Garland on piano, John Coltrane on sax, and Paul Chambers on bass). Davis acknowledged that Jones was his favorite drummer, and stated in his autobiography that he would always listen for Jones in other drummers.

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