Reunald Jones Sr. was born December 22, 1910 in Indianapolis, Indiana and studied trumpet at the Michigan Conservatory. He played with territory bands such as Speed Webb’s outfit and then into the 30s worked with Charlie Johnson, the Savoy Bearcats, Chick Webb, Sam Wooding, Claude Hopkins and others.
By the 1940s he would work with Erskine Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Jimmy Lunceford, Lucky Millinder and Sy Oliver; and worked extensively as a studio musician. During the Fifties, Jones toured with Woody Herman, and played lead trumpet with the Count Basie Orchestra gaining some fame due to his “one-handed” solo style of playing, but was rarely featured.
However, Jones was featured as a member of the Quincy Jones group, “The Jones Boys” from 1956-58, a session conceived by Leonard Feather featuring a number of musicians named “Jones,” though none of them were related.
The Sixties saw him playing and touring with George Shearing and with orchestra accompanying Nat King Cole. By the 70s he was playing less and on February 26, 1989 he passed away.
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Paco de Lucía was born Francisco Sánchez Gómez in Algeciras, Cadiz, Spain on December 21, 1947. His father introduced him to the guitar at a very young age and was extremely strict in his upbringing, forcing him to practice up to 12 hours a day, every day. Combined with natural talent, he soon excelled and in 1958, at age 11, he made his first public appearance on Radio Algeciras. A year later he was awarded a special prize in the Jerez flamenco competition.
At age 14 Paco was touring with the flamenco troupe of dancer Jose Greco and in 1964 he recorded the first of three albums with guitarist Ricardo Modrego. From 1968 to 1977 he would record 10 albums with flamenco singer Camaron de la Isla.
In 1979, de Lucía along with John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell formed The Guitar Trio, briefly toured Europe and released Meeting of the Spirits, a video recorded at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Al Di Meola later replaced Coryell and since 1981 the trio has recorded three albums.
Over the course of his career, Paco De Lucia, considered one of the finest guitarist in the world, has appeared in the western film Hannie Caulder, recorded on the soundtrack of Don Juan DeMarco, led his own sextet with brothers Ramón and Pepe, continues to record jazz, classical and flamenco albums, has won the Prince of Austrias Award, and has been awarded doctorates from the University of Cadiz and Berklee College of Music. On February 25, 2014 he passed away of a heart attack at age 66 in Playa de Carmen, Mexico. He was posthumously award a Latin Grammy for Album of the Year for his album Canción Andaluza the same year.
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Laura is a jazz standard written for the 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. The theme song was composed by Johnny Mercer nd David Raksin. The movie starred Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews and Clifton Webb with supporting cast comprised of Vincent Price, and Judith Anderson.
The Story: New York City police detective Mark McPherson (played by Andrews) is investigating the murder of beautiful and highly successful advertising executive, Laura Hunt (Tierney). A series of interviews leads McPherson to the people in Laura’s life – decadent newspaper columnist Waldo Lydecker (Webb), parasitic playboy fiancé, Shelby Carpenter (Price) and her aunt Ann Treadwell (Anderson) who has been carrying on with Carpenter and giving him money. Through the ensuing investigation McPherson falls in love with the dead woman’s image only to discover that she is alive and that another girl was murdered. He now only has to learn the identity of the murderer in order to save Laura.
George V. Johnson Jr. was born on December 20, 1950 in Washington, D.C. Self taught, he was first exposed to music by singing and participating regular with church and school choirs while listening and emulating records played by his parents. He attended Prince George’s Community College then went on to matriculate through Howard University School of Fine Arts.
A composer, George writes lyrics about complex things: personal experiences, love, history, family, home, heaven and jazz. Phrases turn, emotions connect and melodies soar with his natural gift of writing lyrics and poetry. Meeting pianist John Malachi was fortuitous as he helped shape and guide Johnson’s career over the next 15 years.
He met a major influence, Eddie Jefferson, and performed or recorded with Lou Donaldson and James Moody, has performed at numerous jazz festivals and tributes, played various nightclubs and toured Europe. He has penned lyrics to more than 40 Hank Mobley compositions as part of the Second Floor Music project that has single handedly kept vocalese alive.
Over a 35 year career, vocalist, lyricist, actor, playwright, producer, promoter, composer George Johnson has played with legendary jazz musicians and vocalists such as Lou Donaldson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Shirley Horn, Dizzy Gillespie, John Hicks, Billy Higgins, Rufus Reid, Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Kurt Lightsey and the list continues. He continues to perform, and record.
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Bobby Timmons was born Robert Henry Timmons on December 19, 1935 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Studying piano from the age of six by the age of 19 he was moving to New York, playing with the likes of Kenny Dorham’s Jazz Prophets, Chet Baker, Sonny Stitt and Maynard Ferguson. He became a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from 58-59 touring Europe and became well known for his composition “Moanin”.
He joined Cannonball Adderley for a year, recorded two soul-jazz compositions that became hits “This Here” and “Dat Dere” and rejoined Blakey for a brief stint in the Sixties. Over the course of his career he recorded some 16 albums for Riverside, Milestone and Prestige record labels and recorded another twenty-three as a sideman with Art Blakey, Hank Mobley, Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Curtis Fuller, Nat Adderley, Kenny Burrell and the Young Lions.
However sophisticated and versatile a pianist he proved to be, Timmons’ success of his compositions, which have become jazz standards, could not compensate for his artistic frustrations and his battle with alcoholism. Pianist and composer Bobby Timmons passed away from cirrhosis at the age of 38 on March 1, 1974.