Max Jones

Ronald Maxwell "Max" Jones (28 February 1917, London – 1 August 1993, Chichester) was a British jazz author, radio host and journalist.

Life and achievements

Together with his brother Cliff, Jones taught himself to play the saxophone, before the two of them founded a dance band in 1930. Named "Campus Club Dance Band" it was semi-professional and when it had been dissolved in 1935, Jones tried to establish himself as a professional musician, becoming a member of a combo led by trumpeter Johnny Claes, with musicians who played in the style of Coleman Hawkins. In 1942 and 1943, Jones worked for the BBC radio programme Radio Rhythm Club; and in 1942, together with authors Albert McCarthy and Charles Fox, he founded the magazine Jazz Music,[1] which became meritorious as it set out "to reassert the pioneering role of the African-American, to emphasise the music’s social dimensions, and to attack the glossy commercialism of big-band swing".[2]

Since 1944, Jones had had a full-time job writing features for the Melody Maker in the column "Collectors’ Corner".[3] In the following years he gained more and more high recognition as a proven expert of New Orleans Jazz, swing, and mainstream jazz.[1] A collection of his articles on musicians such as Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holiday, and Mary Lou Williams was published as a book entitled Talking Jazz in 1987. In 1971 Jones published a Louis Armstrong biography, Louis: The Louis Armstrong Story, together with John Chilton. Jones also wrote a number of liner notes, such as for the CD edition of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band[4] and the Spirits of Rhythm.[5]

Jones was the first jazz musician to become a professional journalist and exclusively dealt with jazz in his publications.[1] He was a model and a mentor for a younger generation of rock music critics and authors.[6]

Jones was married to Betty Salberg and had one son.[1]


  • LOUIS: The Louis Armstrong Story, 1900–1971 (with John Chilton), Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1971. ISBN 0-306-80324-0
  • LOUIS: The Louis Armstrong Story 1900–1971 (with John Chilton; new preface by Dan Morgenstern), New York City: Da Capo Press, 1988. ISBN 978-0-306-80324-6
  • TALKING JAZZ", London: MacMillan, 1987. ISBN 0-333-43431-5
  • JAZZ TALKING: Profiles, Interviews & Other Riffs (new preface by Stanley Dance), New York City: Da Capo Press, 2000. ISBN 0-306-80948-6
  • Lee Collins, Mary Spriggs Collins, Frank Gillis, John W. Miner, Oh, Didn't He Ramble: The Life Story of Lee Collins (preface by Max Jones).


  1. Steve Voce, "Obituary: Max Jones", The Independent, 4 August 1993.
  2. The Jazz site Archived 2012-07-11 at
  3. Floyd Levin, Benny Carter: Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians, University of California Press, 2000.
  5. Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather, Brian Priestley: Jazz Rough Guide, Stuttgart, 1999, p. 606.
  6. John Shepherd: Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. Vol. 1: Media, Industry and Society, p. 305.
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