Bobby Jones (photo by Christoph Wirsing) was born on october 12, 1928 in Kentucky. His father, a professional drummer, started teaching him when he was only 4 years old. When he was eight he switched from drums to clarinet. Every night he had to play to the records of Jimmie Noone, Barney Bigard, Benny goodman and Artie Shaw, and whenever he missed a note his father would beat him up.

At the age of 18 he got his first professional engagement with the Ray McKinley Orchestra, followed by gigs with Hal McIntyre and as a lead saxophonist with the Woody Herman Big Band. After his time in the army (where he played with the Fort Knox Army Band) he settled down in Cleveland, Ohio and worked there as a studio tenorist mostly for R&B and Rock’n Roll recordings.During that time he made a lot of money, which he saved for his big goal to become a member of the Mingus band. For him Mingus stood above Miles or Coltrane he was his musical god, the essence of what he wanted to do and he planed very systematically to get into the Mingus band. For this purpose he moved in 1970 to New York and when Mingus had a gig at the Village Gate, Jones went there before the band’s first set and asked if he could sit in. At the end of the night Mingus told him to come back tomorrow, as he did each night until the end of the week when he gave him some money. The same thing happend next week, and the week after, each time more money till Jones finally discovered that he was a member of the group.

Bobby Jones stayed with the Mingus group for two years (1970-72) recorded several LP’s with the group and also toured Europe and Japan with Mingus. During their second tour to Europe, Jones had a serious dispute with the bandleader. After a concert in Belgium, Mingus threw a knife at him and after another violent argument in London an angry and disappointed jones left the band. Jones went back to Belgium and stayed with alto-saxophonist Jacques Peltzer in Liege.

That’s when I crossed ways with Bobby Jones. At that time I just started doing the booking for the legendary Jazzclub " domicile" . My first call was for my friend Jaques Peltzer, i booked him for a week into the Club and he asked me if he could bring Bobby. Of course I agreed and that’s how he came to Munich. He liked it here and stayed in Munich till his death in 1980.

The last years of his live Bobby could not play anymore. He had a lung disease and had serious difficulty in breathing. During his early days here in Munich he had a band together with Dusko Goykovich called "Summit". A co-leader group with constantly changing rhythm section. Bobby always had troubles with the other band members cause of his strange theory of how the salary should be split up.

In the States Bobby had done two records under his name for "Cobblestone", he wasn’t very happy with those records (he claimed some of the musicians came to the studio drunk) and he was very ambitious to do a real good leader date. In summer 1974 the New York Jazz Quartet played at the "Domicil". The line up was Frank Wess on saxophone and flute, Roland Hanna on piano George Mraz bass and FreddieWaits on drums. Bobby Jones liked the band a lot and was especially impressed by the rhythm section. He came in our office and asked us to do a recording with him as a leader and Hanna / Mraz /Waits. I was not so enthusiastic about the idea of a quartet, it seemed a little to conventional for me, there are so many recordings with that instrumentation and so I suggested to make it a trio date: just him with drum & bass. Bobby agreed with my idea, because he saw it as a challenge for him and, as you can hear, it worked out and we had a beautiful record.

Horst Weber


Musica Jazz: »Questo suo album è ottimo e molto originale pieno com’ è - non solo nei titoli ma anche nelle musica - di echi del passato rivssuti con sensibilità moderna e molto personale«.
S. A.

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