The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones

Friday, October 07, 2011

Paul Devlin talks about the jazz drummer Papa Jo Jones. Rifftide: The Life and Opinions of Papa Jo Jones presents Papa Jo’s Jones inimitable life and opinions, as originally told by Jones to jazz historian and novelist Albert Murray over the course of eight years, beginning in 1977. Devlin has transcribed, arranged, and written the book’s introduction.


Paul Devlin

Comments [3]

Paul Colin

I played a gig with Joe at the Metropole in 1967
with Arvel Shaw and Charlie Shavers. He threw a drum stick at me during a solo that apparently displeased him and almost knocked me off the stage and into the bar below.

Oct. 07 2011 12:51 PM
Sam from astoria

I remember seeing Papa Jo backing Chuck Berry on tape...great footage!

Oct. 07 2011 12:44 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Back in 1969 or 1970 when I was a student at CCNY in New York, a jazz quintet made of members of Count Basie's band -- they called themselves "The Count's Men" or something like that -- performed at the Buttenweiser student building during the Thursday noon-2PM weekly student break.

There must have been 150-200 (or more) students packed into that large lounge room. The jazzmen and their music were full of joy and the entire room was grinning ear-to-ear, the pleasure and joy was absolutely infectious and uplifting.

Later, downstairs, antiwar protesters were singing Country Joe & The Fish's (musically boring) antiwar song, whose exact title I forget.

I had an epiphany that afternoon -- that Jazz always had a smile on it's face, even when it was sad, whereas much of rock had a smirk.

I never looked back. Since then, I left rock and listened to and learned about, and ultimately fell in love with Jazz, & Classical music (and more.) Overwhelmingly, most of my fellow students quickly forgot about the warm feeling generated that afternoon -- how easy it was to love that music -- and went back to the same-old stuff we'd been given to listen to by the rock stations for years.

I could never go back to Rock -- I found it so musically limiting, so repetitive, and so lacking in real musicality and originality (and don't get me started on the lyrics!)

Later I also realized, that "Rock don't swing" (try it -- it don't work.)

Papa Jo Jone's was one of the members of that wonderful quintet and I never forgot his infectious joy that afternoon.

Oct. 07 2011 12:28 PM

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