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SW!NG OUT and Jo Jones

April 6, 2023

SW!NG OUT and Jo Jones

iLindy Reporter


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Swing Out - October



Acclaimed choreographer Caleb Teicher brings the best of the swing dance world to The Joyce, with live music by Eyal Vilner Big Band. Conceived by Caleb Teicher alongside their brain trust of collaborators Evita Arce, LaTasha Barnes, Nathan Bugh, Macy Sullivan, and Eyal Vilner, SW!NG OUT features exciting Lindy Hop choreography and improvisation. Each performance concludes with an on-stage jam session, inviting audiences to join in the fun! SW!NG OUT is a NYT Critic’s Pick! (source)


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“Our Dance is Modern Because We’re Alive Right Now.” Read The New York Times preview of SW!NG OUT by Brian Seibert.

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Happy Birthday, Jo Jones – Born October 7, 1911


Born Jonathan David Samuel Jones, he was known as Kansas City Jo Jones and Papa Jo Jones.


“As a child, he studied piano, saxophone and trumpet, and in his teens he performed in touring shows and carnivals, with bands led by Bennie Moten and Walter Page among others. He first recorded with Lloyd Hunter’s Serenaders, and started working around Kansas City, Mo. – 

Mr. Jones became the original Count Basie band’s drummer in 1935, and was with the band nearly continuously for the next 13 years, first in Kansas City and then on an international touring circuit. Mr. Jones’s light but precise four-beat was the backbone of the Count Basie band from 1935-48. Where earlier bands had used a two-beat established by the bass drum, Mr. Jones shifted the bass drum for accents and established a steady four-beat rhythm on cymbal; by lightening the beat, he was also able to use the timbres of each drum and cymbal for more subtle effects. Many jazz drummers of succeeding generations consider Mr. Jones a major influence.” (source)



“He minimized the use of the bass drum and kept time on the top cymbal, freeing the drum kit to do more than simply mark time: Kenny Clarke, Max Roach and others developed this in the bop era of the ’40s. He was not the only Swing Era drummer to practice the new, lighter concentration on the cymbal, and in later years constant beating of the cymbal by other drummers was often irritating (sometimes because badly recorded); but he did it with such finesse, humour and good taste (rarely taking solos) that he was the most influential of his generation: the rhythm section of the Basie band in its classic years swung like a light, well-oiled machine, and he lifted every session he played on.” (source


In 1937-38, he made record dates with Teddy Wilson, and Lionel Hampton, in ’41 with the Benny Goodman sextet, and later appeared on albums with Buck Clayton, Sonny Stitt, Ruby Braff, Paul Quinichette, Coleman Hawkins, and Nat Pierce. In 1948, Mr. Jones left the Basie band to tour with Illinois Jacquet‘s big band. During the 1950’s he performed with Lester Young.

He toured Europe with Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson ’57 as well as with Jazz at the Philharmonic touring jam sessions. He led own trios in New York from ’57 to ’60, and did some fine dates for Everest in that period as “Jo Jones Trio,” and “Vamp Till Ready,” and “Percussion and Brass.” He somehow also found time to teach and run a music shop.” (source

Throwing a Cymbal 

In addition to his artistry on the drums, Jones was known for his irascible, combative temperament. One famous instance of his irritable temper was in the spring of 1937, Jo Jones was a star guest in the rhythm section at Kansas City’s Reno Club. Then teenager Charlie Parker joined a queue of players waiting to jam onstage. Finally, it was Parker’s turn.

“While Jones’s pulse surged on behind him, the teenager lost the tune, and then the beat. Jones stopped, and Parker froze, clutching his gleaming new saxophone. Jones contemptuously threw a cymbal at his feet, and the reverberations were followed by the sound of laughter and catcalls.”  (source)


Films and Awards

Among the films he appeared in were ‘‘Jammin’ the Blues” (1944), ”The Unsuspected” (1947), ”Born to Swing” (1973) and ”Last of the Blue Devils” (1979). In 1985 Jones was the recipient of an American Jazz Masters fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts


Jones died of pneumonia September 3, 1985 at New York Hospital. He was 73 years old and lived in Manhattan.


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