Thursday, December 24, 2009

Jo Jones - Born To Swing

Well, one more post here before we put on our Santa's Christmas hats and break out the eggnog (among other beverages!)

This segment is from a 1970s documentary entitled "Born to Swing" and followed a studio recording reunion date featuring several alumni members of the Count Basie band from the 1930s. There is some great footage of the great Papa Jo Jones here. Check out his brushwork around the 5:28 mark. It's unbelievable how HIGH his brushes are coming off the drum head at that tempo !!! In my opinion, that's just scary...

Furthermore, can you imagine having Jo Jones as your own personal drum teacher ? (as seen in the video) Well, I can dream can't I ? From what I understand, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams were also teaching out of Frank Ippolito's Manhattan drum shop around that time (!)

Anyways, here's a few more amazing shots of Jo Jones in action:

Some people are quick to dismiss this style of drumming as old and irrelevant nowadays. But I think it swings like mad and we should all be very lucky to even come close to capturing the joyous feeling that Mr. Jones was able get out of a set drums !


  1. Thanks for posting these clips of one of the Masters, Jon! I've written about meeting Jo Jones on my own jazz blog, JAZZ LIVES: And for people who dismiss Jo's playing as "old and irrelevant," we should go beyond annoyance to pity: think of what they're missing, what their ears are closed to! Cheers and happy 2010, Michael Steinman (

  2. Great stuff. I just posted an entry about Papa Jo in ... I referenced this page.