Jo Jones (October 7, 1911 – September 3, 1985) was an American jazz drummer.
Known as Papa Jo Jones in his later years, he was sometimes confused with another influential jazz drummer, Philly Joe Jones. The two died only a few days apart.
Born as "Jonathan David Samuel Jones" in Chicago, Illinois, he moved to Alabama where he learned to play several instruments, including saxophone, piano, and drums. He worked as a drummer and tap-dancer at carnival shows until joining Walter Page's band, the Blue Devils in Oklahoma City in the late 1920s. He recorded with trumpeter Lloyd Hunter's Serenaders in 1931, and later joined pianist Count Basie's band in 1933. Jones, Basie, guitarist Freddie Green and bassist Walter Page were sometimes billed as an 'all-American Rhythm section'. Jones took a brief break for two years when he was in the military, but he remained with Basie until 1948. He participated in the Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series.
He was one of the first drummers to promote the use of brushes on drums and shifting the role of timekeeping from the bass drum to the hi-hat cymbal. Jones had a major influence on later drummers such as Buddy Rich, Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes, Max Roach, and Louie Bellson. He also starred in several films, most notably the musical short Jammin' the Blues (1944).
Jones performed regularly in later years at the West End jazz club at 116th and Broadway in New York City. These performances were generally very well attended by other drummers such as Max Roach and Roy Haynes. In addition to his artistry on the drums, Jones was known for his irascible, combative temperament.
In contrast to drummer Gene Krupa's loud, insistent pounding of the bass drum on each beat, Jones often omitted bass drum playing altogether. Jones also continued a ride rhythm on hi-hat while it was continuously opening and closing instead of the common practice of striking it while it was closed. Jones's style influenced the modern jazz drummer's tendency to play timekeeping rhythms on a suspended cymbal that is now known as the ride cymbal.
In 1979, Jones was inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame for his contribution to the Birmingham, Alabama musical heritage. Jones was the 1985 recipient of an American Jazz Masters fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Jonathan David Samuel Jones, conocido como Jo Jones (y más tarde como Papa Jo Jones), fue uno de los más influyentes bateristas estadounidenses de jazz.
Jo Jones es a menudo confundido por otro baterista importante, Philly Joe Jones.
Nacido en Chicago, Illinois, se fue a vivir a Alabama, finalmente incorporándose en la banda de Walter Page, los Blue Devils en Oklahoma City a finales de los años 20 del siglo XX. A partir de 1933, este conjunto de músicos, formados por Jones, Page, en el bajo, y Freddie Green en la guitara, se convirtió en el núcleo de las distintas bandas de Count Basie.
Jones quedaría en la banda hasta 1948, para después seguir por su cuenta como codiciado músico de sesión, grabando en la década de los 50 con Illinois Jacquet, Billie Holiday, Teddy Wilson, Lester Young, Art Tatum, y Duke Ellington, además de volver a tocar con Basie en 1957 en el Festival de Jazz de Newport donde tocó con la orquestra de Basie y con el sexteto de Coleman Hawkins y Roy Eldridge.