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Famous Like Me > Composer > J > Thad Jones

Profile of Thad Jones on Famous Like Me

Name: Thad Jones  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 28th March 1923
Place of Birth: Pontiac, Michigan, USA
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Thad Jones

Thaddeus Joseph Jones (March 28, 1923 - August 21, 1986) was an American jazz trumpeter.

He was born in Pontiac, Michigan to a musical family of ten (an older brother was pianist Hank Jones and a younger brother was drummer Elvin Jones). Thad Jones was a self taught musician, performing professionally by the age of sixteen. He served in U.S. Army bands during World War II (1943-46).

After the war, Thad Jones continued his professional music career, eventually winding up with Count Basie in 1954, for whom he arranged, composed, and performed. He stayed with the Count for nine years. Thad achieved critical acclaim during this time, but not for his work with Basie. Much of Jones' music was stylistically original and didn't always fit in with the Basie group. In the early sixties he became a free lance arranger and performer in the New York area.

Between 1963 and 1967 he and Mel Lewis formed the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band. The group initially began with informal jam sessions amongst New York's top studio musicians, generally after midnight and within walking distance of their favorite bar, Jim and Andy's. The group eventually began performing, to wide acclaim, and continued with Jones in the lead for twelve years. As with all the musicians in the group, it was a part time gig. In 1979 they won a Grammy Award for their album Live in Munich.

In 1978 Thad moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, (suddenly, and to the great surprise of his New York band mates), where several other American jazz musicians had gone to live. There, he formed a new band Eclipse, composed for The Danish Radio Big Band and taught jazz at the Royal Danish Conservatory in Copenhagen.

A year before his death, Jones came back to the U.S. to lead the Count Basie Orchestra but had to step down due to ill health. He returned to his home in Copenhagen for the last few months of his life. He is buried there in the Vestre Kirkegard Cemetery (Western Churchyard Cemetery).

Thad Jones was an improvisational genius and, according to Charles Mingus, "...the greatest trumpet player I've heard in this life." In later years his playing ability was overshadowed by his composing and arranging skills. His best known composition is the standard A Child is Born.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Thad Jones