Philly Joe Jones: he’d got the fire…

July 16, 2013 at 5:43 pm (jazz, Jim D, music)

Philly Joe Jones was born 90 years ago yesterday. He died on 30 August 1985, but is still remembered as a master…

…and like all masters, he made it look so easy:

Brian Priestly wrote (in Jazz: The Rough Guide):

Jones is indelibly associated with the first classic Miles Davis quintet: he not only masterminded its rhythm-section, but created one of its most distinctive (and most imitated) sounds, the once-per-bar rim-shot played with the heel of the drumstick, as in the title track of Milestones. Equally adept with the wire brushes, he was nevertheless at his best when using sticks to play an interactive commentary behind an equally strong soloist such as John Coltrane. His style could be said to combine the intelligence of Max Roach with the power of Art Blakey, although in detail it was quite unique. Dismissing obliquely the criticisms of Joe’s musical idiosyncrasy and drug-related unreliability, Miles once said, “I wouldn’t care if he came up on the bandstand in his BVD’s [underwear] and with one arm, just so long as he was there. He’s got the fire I want.”

H/t: Michael Steinman at Jazz Lives

1 Comment

  1. brucerob said,

    ‘Drug-related unreliability’is an understatement, I think. But a great drummer despite playing in his underwear. :-)
    He spent time in the UK in the late 60s, recording with British musicians, though he didn’t have a work permit and couldn’t appear in public.

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