Papa Jo Jones was one of the first drummers to make use of the brushes: Photos, Videos

- in ARTISTS, BOOKS, VIDEOS

Few drummers make me smile more than Jo Jones. Jones began jazz drumming professionally in the 1920s and first recorded in 1931 with Hunter’s Serenades. Jones is probably best known for playing with Count Basie’s earliest band in 1934 and recording with Basie starting in 1936.

He was one of the first drummers to make use of the brushes and among the first to steer timekeeping away from the bass drum and turn that job over to the hi-hat cymbal, producing what today is jazz’s familiar modern sound. In short, he was the Louis Armstrong of the drum kit. “Papa” was added later to distinguish him from “Philly” Joe Jones and other younger drummers named Jones.

The following videos should make you smile, too, if only because of Papa Jo’s own “awww, this ain’t nothin’ ” smile while playing:

Papa Jo Jones exhibiting his glorious brush technique in a solo…

Jones with organist Milt Buckner and then with George Benson and tap dancer Jimmy Slyde…

Jones with pianist Teddy Wilson and bassist Jim Atlas…

Jones with pianist Oscar Peterson, bassist Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis with trumpter Roy Eldridge and saxophonists Flip Philips and Illinois Jacquet…

Bonus: 55 minutes of CBS’s The Sound of Jazz in December 1957, produced by Robert Herridge, with Jo Jones on drums. Count Basie’s band was all-star all the way: Roy Eldridge (tp,flh); Joe Newman, Joe Wilder, Doc Cheatham and Emmett Berry (tp); Vic Dickenson, Dicky Wells and Benny Morton (tb); Earl Warren (as); Coleman Hawkins and Ben Webster (ts); Gerry Mulligan (bar); Count Basie (p); Freddie Green (g); Eddie Jones (b); Jo Jones (d) and Jimmy Rushing (vcl). And that’s Billie Holiday who comes along to chat with Basie mid-tune. The epitome of cool is Basie chatting with her in the middle of a barn-burning Dickie’s Dream

Facebook Comments