b. Robert Elliott Jones, 31 December 1909, Louisville, Kentucky, USA, d. 29 April 2000, New York City, New York, USA.
As a youth Jones played trumpet with numerous local and territory bands before joining Horace Henderson in 1928. After drifting through various other minor bands, he joined Jimmie Lunceford and then in Buffalo, in 1932, began a highly profitable musical partnership with Stuff Smith. Although he found time for excursions with Lillian Armstrong and McKinney's Cotton Pickers, he was still with Smith when they took their little band into New York and a residency at the Onyx Club in early 1936. For the next four years the band captivated audiences with their hot music, eccentric appearance and crazy clowning. In 1940, Jones left to work with the big bands of Benny Carter, Fletcher Henderson and then spent a decade with Cab Calloway, displacing Dizzy Gillespie. He next played with Earl Hines.
NEW YORK CITY - Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Jonah Jones has died at the age of 90. Jones started out playing on Mississippi riverboats and ended up a big band star. He briefly played with Lil Armstrong (Louis' wife) before joining Cab Calloway's band in the early '40s. Jones and bop legend Dizzy Gillespie were both members of the Calloway orchestra's trumpet section.
Gillespie was eventually fired by Calloway after having knifed the bandleader in the posterior. Someone had been firing spitballs at Calloway when his back was turned, and Gillespie was blamed. He denied the accusation and a scuffle ensued, triggering the knife incident. It turned out the source of the spitballs was Jonah Jones. Jonah Jones retired from public performing in 1993.
A jazz veteran whose ebullient nature, muted trumpet style, and scat singing style. Jones began playing professionally in his teens, starting out with bands on the riverboats that still worked the Ohio River in the late 1920s. He joined Jimmie Lunceford's band in 1931 and Lunceford often brought him up front to do comic vocal numbers with violinist Stuff Smith. He moved through some of the best black bands of the 1930s and 40s--McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Fletcher Henderson, Benny Carter, and then, for an eleven-year stretch, Cab Calloway.