Philly Joe Jones

Joseph Rudolph "Philly Joe" Jones (July 15, 1923 – August 30, 1985) was an American jazz drummer, known as the drummer for the first "Great" Miles Davis Quintet.[1] He should not be confused with "Papa" Jo Jones, another drummer who had a long tenure with Count Basie. The two men died only a few days apart.

Philly Joe Jones
Jones, c. 1970
Background information
Birth nameJoseph Rudolph Jones
Born(1923-07-15)July 15, 1923
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
DiedAugust 30, 1985(1985-08-30) (aged 62)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
GenresJazz, hard bop, bebop, cool jazz, modal
Associated actsMiles Davis, Bill Evans, Hank Mobley


Early career

As a child, Jones appeared as a featured tap dancer on The Kiddie Show on the Philadelphia radio Station WIP.[2] He was in the US Army during World War II.[2]

In 1947 he became the house drummer at Café Society in New York City, where he played with the leading bebop players of the day. Among them, the most important influence on Jones was Tadd Dameron. Jones toured and recorded with Miles Davis Quintet from 1955 to 1958—a band that became known as "The Quintet" (along with Red Garland on piano, John Coltrane on sax, and Paul Chambers on bass).[3] Davis acknowledged that Jones was his favorite drummer,[3] and stated in his autobiography that he would always listen for Jones in other drummers.

From 1958 Jones worked as a leader, but continued to work as a sideman with other musicians, including Bill Evans and Hank Mobley. Evans, like Davis, also openly stated that Jones was his all-time favorite drummer.


Between late 1967 and 1972 Jones lived in London and Paris,[4] performing and recording with musicians including Archie Shepp, Mal Waldron and Hank Mobley.[5] For two years (1967–69) Jones taught at a specially organized school in Hampstead, London, but was prevented from otherwise working in the UK by the Musicians' Union. His 1968 album Mo' Joe (also released as Trailways Express)[6] was recorded in London with local musicians (including Peter King, Harold McNair, Chris Pyne, Kenny Wheeler and others).[7]

Later years

After returning to Philadelphia, Jones led a fusion group called Le Grand Prix, toured with Bill Evans in 1976 and 1978, recorded for Galaxy in 1977–79, and worked with Red Garland.[1]

From 1981 he helped to found the group Dameronia, dedicated to the music of the composer Tadd Dameron, and led it until his death.[3]

Jones died in 1985 of a heart attack at home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the age of 62.[2] Jones' "combination of deep-toned tom-tom and bass drums with subtle swirls of cross-rhythm on cymbals was widely imitated".[2]


As leader

As sideman

With Chris Anderson

With Chet Baker

With Evans Bradshaw

With Clifford Brown

With Kenny Burrell

With Joe Castro

  • Mood Jazz (Atlantic, 1957)

With Serge Chaloff

With Paul Chambers

  • Go (Vee-Jay, 1959)

With Sonny Clark

With John Coltrane

With Miles Davis

With Kenny Drew

With Bill Evans

With Art Farmer

With Red Garland

With Benny Golson

With Dexter Gordon

With Bennie Green

With Johnny Griffin

With Ernie Henry

With Elmo Hope

With Freddie Hubbard

With Bobby Hutcherson

With Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery

With Clifford Jordan

  • The Rotterdam Sessions (Audio Daddio 1985)

With Duke Jordan

With Abbey Lincoln

With Herbie Mann

With Warne Marsh

With Howard McGhee

With Blue Mitchell

With Hank Mobley

With J. R. Monterose

With Phineas Newborn Jr.

With Art Pepper

With Bud Powell

With Sonny Rollins

With Archie Shepp

With Jimmy Smith

With Sonny Stitt

With Clark Terry

With Ben Webster

With Jack Wilson

With Phil Woods


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