A talented and flashy trumpeter, Jonah Jones hit upon a formula in 1955 that made him a major attraction for a decade; playing concise versions of melodic swing standards and show tunes muted with a quartet. But although the non-jazz audience discovered Jones during the late '50s, he had already been a very vital trumpeter for two decades.
Jones started out playing on a Mississippi riverboat in the 1920s. He freelanced in the Midwest (including with Horace Henderson), was briefly with Jimmie Lunceford (1931), had an early stint with Stuff Smith (1932-1934), and then spent time with Lil Armstrong's short-lived orchestra and the declining McKinney's Cotton Pickers. Jones became famous for his playing with Stuff Smith's Onyx club band (1936-1940), recording many exciting solos.
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