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Thu, 12.31.1908

Jonah Jones, Trumpeter born

Jonah Jones

*On this date, in 1908, Jonah Jones was born. He was a Black jazz musician.

From Louisville, Kentucky, Jonah Jones was born Robert Elliott Jones. He began playing music at the age of 11. As a boy, he watched the Booker T. Washington Community Center Band march through town, and the flashy trombones impressed him. The band's organizer gave him his chance, but Jones ’arms were too short for trombone, so he moved on to the trumpet. Jones started out playing on a Mississippi riverboat in the 1920s. He freelanced in the Midwest (including with Horace Henderson), was briefly with Jimmie Lunceford (1931), had early work with Stuff Smith (1932-1934), and then spent time with Lil Armstrong's short-lived orchestra and the declining McKinney's Cotton Pickers.

Jones became famous for playing with Stuff Smith's Onyx club band (1936-1940), recording many moving solos. He worked with Benny Carter and Fletcher Henderson and became a star soloist with Cab Calloway, staying with the singer after Calloway's big band became a combo.  In 1952, Jones played Dixieland with Earl Hines and toured Europe. In 1954 his shuffle version of "On the Street Where You Live" was the first of many hits he recorded.

From 1957 to 1963, Jones had a long series of popular albums for Capitol, switching to Decca for a few more quartet albums in 1965-1967. Jonah Jones died April 30, 2000, in New York, NY at 91.

To Become a Musician or Singer



Jazz: A History of the New York Scene
Samuel Charters and Leonard Kunstadt
(Doubleday, Garden City, N.Y., 1962)

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