Born: July 19, 1936 | Died: November 7, 1996 Primary Instrument: Trumpet
An excellent hard bop trumpeter, Carmell Jones would probably have been much better-known today if he had not moved to Europe in the mid-'60s at the height of his career.
In 1960, after two years in the army and two years at the University of Kansas as a music education and trumpet major, Carmell left the midwest and became a studio musician in California. He recorded with artists such as Sammy Davis, Jr, Bob Hope, and Nelson Riddle. During this chapter in the Carmell Jones success story, he was being compared to Clifford Brown and Fats Navarro.
Carmell developed a close association with Bud Shank as a member of his quintet. He recorded with many other notables and most importantly, he recorded his first album under his own name and contract with Pacific Jazz - The Remarkable Carmell Jones. Thinking back about those days, Carmell said, I've probably played with all of the bands that you've heard of. Jones recorded a couple of albums as a leader for Pacific Jazz and made records with Bud Shank, Harold Land, Curtis Amy, and most significantly Gerald Wilson's Orchestra (1961-1963).
Jones toured with Horace Silver for a year (1964-1965), recording the original version of Song for My Father with Silver before moving to Berlin. He was invited by Joachim Berendt, the German jazz critic who had heard Jones while in Kansas City, to go to Germany to play and record. In 1965, he headed for Europe where he would stay for the next 15 years. Although quite active in Europe, Carmell Jones was largely forgotten by the time he moved back to Kansas City in 1980; however, a 1982 album for Revelation helped remind a few listeners how good he still was.