Samuel Jones was born on November 12, 1924 in Jacksonville, Florida. He started his career playing in local bands but by 1953 he was playing with Tiny Bradshaw. Moving to New York City in 1955 he joined up with the groups of Kenny Dorham, Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, and Thelonious Monk. But it would be with the Cannonball’s quintet from 1959 to 1966 that would establish his reputation.
Pairing up with stellar drummer Louis Hayes, the association proved to be a benchmark rhythm section for being “in the pocket”. Jones went on to replace Ray Brown in the Oscar Peterson Trio from 1966 to 1970. After this tenure he teamed up with Cedar Walton and Billy Higgins.
Known for playing the bass and cello with impeccable technique he could also swing and groove with the best of them. Sam fronted his own bands and left a reputable recorded legacy as a leader, recording solo projects during the early sixties and released some wonderful sides for Riverside, where he was able to stretch out on some of his cello oriented pieces.
From 1977 to 1981 Jones remained very active both as leader and sought after session player with two of his landmark recordings “Something New” and Something In Common” being produced during this period. He has played with Bobby Timmons, Tiny Bradshaw, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans and Illinois Jacquet as well as many others who revolved around the New York City jazz scene that was fertile ground for his career.
Sam Jones, double bassist, cellist and composer of the jazz standard, “Del Sasser”, passed away on December 15, 1981 at the age of 57.
Robert L. Hurst III was born on October 4, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan and began his early music studies playing the guitar before concentrating on the bass. In 1985 he began working with Out Of The Blue and adding such jazz luminaries and contemporaries as Tony Williams, Mulgrew Miller, Harry Connick Jr., Geri Allen, Russell Malone, Terence Blanchard, Pharaoh Sanders, Sting, Carl Allen and Steve Coleman among others to his roster.
From 1986 to 1991 Hurst played in Wynton Marsalis’s ensemble, played with Branford Marsalis in the early nineties, and debuted as a leader in 1993 recording “Robert Hurst Presents” that reached #13 on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart. He has won four Emmy and five Grammy awards and directed, arranged and composed while a member of The Tonight Show Band.
He has scored original music for the films The Wood and Brown Sugar; performed music for Ocean’s 11, Ocean’s 12, Ocean’s 13, and on the Good Night, and Good Luck the soundtrack featuring Dianne Reeves, in which she won the Jazz Vocal Grammy in 2008. His recent recordings with Kenny Garrett and Diana Krall were each nominated for a 2007 Grammy.
No stranger to education Hurst has been involved with the Education of Jazz and Jazz History, receiving the Presidential Scholarship from President Ronald Reagan. He currently holds a position of Associate Professor teaching jazz bass at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and holds a seat with the Board of Directors for the John Coltrane Foundation.
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Tony Dumas was born in Los Angeles, California on October 1, 1955. By the age of 14, he started playing bass first crafting his sound in his high school orchestra. After graduation he went on to study music at Pasadena City College.
Dumas’ first started playing professionally with organist Johnny Hammond Smith followed by a stint with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard. To say he was sought after would be an understatement as his list of credentials as a sideman is impressive to say the least.
Tony has been privileged to have toured, played and recorded with such luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Carmen McCrae, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams, Cedar Walton, Billy Higgins, Rufus Reid, Chick Corea, Eddie Gladden, George Cables and Art Pepper as well as The Manhattan Transfer, Joe Farrell, Etta James, Mariah Carey, Bill Cosby and the Playboy Jazz Festival Band, Patrice Rushen, Bob Berg, and the list goes on and on.
Bassist Tony Dumas continues to add to the legacy of jazz through his performing and recording.
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Wilbur Ware was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 8, 1923. He taught himself to play banjo and bass. In the 1940s, he worked with Stuff Smith, Sonny Stitt and Roy Eldridge. In the ‘50s, Ware played with Eddie Vinson, Art Blakey, Johnny Griffin and Buddy DeFranco.
Ware played simply, strongly, and melodically, with a big, hard-bop percussive sound. His best known for his hard bop percussive style and his most important Wilbur Ware records are three dates with the Thelonious Monk Quartet in 1957-58. The best Monk sides are the three perfect quartet tracks with John Coltrane and Shadow Wilson, followed by the uneven all-star “Monk’s Music” date, where one can hear Ware’s great harmonic insight on “Well You Needn’t”. These dates along with the Sonny Rollins Village Vanguard sets with Elvin Jones are examples of his finest recorded work.
Ware and fellow bassist Israel Crosby were leading examples of the more laid-back “Chicago Sound” approach to the bass during the 1950′s. By 1969, Ware had played with Clifford Jordan, Elvin Jones and Sonny Rollins. He later moved to Philadelphia, where the double-bassist died from emphysema on September 9,1979. He was 56 years old.
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Biréli Lagrène was born September 4, 1966 in Soufflenheim, Bas-Rhin Alsace, France in a traditional manouche-Gypsy family and community. He started playing the guitar at the age of four. He grew up in the loving but tough environment of the “tzigane” or Romani Gypsies. His biggest influences came from family with a gifted violinist father. At age eight, he covered Django Reinhardt’s repertoire, at twelve won a Gypsy music festival in Strasbourg and later recorded his live performance on the double LP, “Route to Django”.
Offered the chance to leave for the U.S., Biréli met the greatest jazz musicians of the international scene such as Stephane Grappelli, Benny Goodman and Benny Carter. In 1984, he met Larry Coryell in New York, then later introduced to bassist Jaco Pastorious and ventured with him into jazz-fusion. Together, they toured Europe, which contributed a great deal to Lagrène’s musical emancipation.
Lagrène, a guitarist and bassist, came to prominence in the 1980s for his Django Reinhardt influenced style. He often performs within the swing; jazz-fusion and post bop mediums. He has also performed live with guitarist Al Di Meola, recorded “Gipsy Project” and “Gipsy Project & Friends” in 2002. He has thirty-seven albums and four film scores to date and continues to record, perform and tour.