Jones, Sam(uel) (Jacksonville, FL, 12 Nov 1924 - New York, 15 Dec 1981)


Double bass player, cellist, and composer



He studied drums and guitar during his school years. He played and recorded on double bass in Cincinnati with Tiny Bradshaw (1953-5), then moved to New York, where he soon became sought after by the leaders of several bop groups, including Kenny Dorham (1956), Cannonball Adderley (1957), Dizzy Gillespie (1958-9), and Thelonious Monk (1959). By 1960 his reputation had grown considerably, and he began recording under his own name on both double bass and cello. He was a member of Adderley's group from 1959 to 1965, and contributed many original compositions, including Del Sasser and Unit 7, to its repertory. When Ray Brown left Oscar Peterson in 1966 Jones joined the pianist's trio, remaining until 1970. Thereafter he worked with Bobby Timmons, Wynton Kelly, Cedar Walton, Clifford Jordan, Duke Jordan, Lucky Thompson, and Jimmy Heath; a few years before his death he also led a big band with Tom Harrell.


As a jazz cellist Jones must be ranked with Oscar Pettiford and Ray Brown, though his approach to improvisation is more blues-oriented. His soulful perambulations on double bass, even when restricted to basic chord changes, were intrinsically musical, and he sometimes constructed an entire solo from walking-bass patterns.


 Lawrence Koch


The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Macmillan Reference Ltd 1988