Philly Joe Jones
Jones in a 1961 Gretsch Advertisement
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

Joseph Rudolph "Philly Joe" Jones (July 15, 1923 – August 30, 1985) was an American jazz drummer.[1]


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, including Tadd Dameron. From 1955 to 1958, Jones toured and recorded with Miles Davis Quintet — 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.


Jones in 1964

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

Jones toured with Bill Evans in 1976 and 1978, recorded for Galaxy in 1977–79, and worked with Red Garland.[1] From 1981, Jones helped to found the group Dameronia, dedicated to the music of the composer Tadd Dameron, and led it until his death from a heart attack in 1985.[2]


As leader/co-leader

Recording date Title / Co-leader Label Year released Notes
1958-09-17 Blues for Dracula Riverside 1958
1959-05-04, -11, -28 Drums Around the World Riverside 1959
1959-11-17, -18 Showcase Riverside 1959
1960-05-20 Philly Joe's Beat Atlantic 1960
1961-02-02 Together! with Elvin Jones Atlantic 1961
1968-10-01, -31 Trailways Express
also released as Mo Joe and Gone, Gone, Gone
Black Lion 1971
Philly Joe Jones Avec Jef Gilson Et Son Ensemble with the Jef Gilson Ensemble Disques Vogue 1969
1969-07-18 Round Midnight Lotus 1980 Live
1969-11-29, -30,
Archie Shepp & Philly Joe Jones with Archie Shepp America 1969
1977-04-06, -07 Mean What You Say Sonet 1977
1977-11-29, -30,
Philly Mignon Galaxy 1978
1978-10-10 – -12 Drum Song Galaxy 1985
1978-10-10 – -12 Advance! Galaxy 1979
1981-06-19 Filet de Sole Marge 1992 Philly Joe Jones Octet
1982-06-28 To Tadd with Love Uptown 1982 Philly Joe Jones Dameronia
1983-07-11 Look Stop Listen Uptown 1983 Philly Joe Jones Dameronia featuring Johnny Griffin

As sideman


  1. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Philly Joe Jones Biography". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Pareles, Jon (September 3, 1985). "Philly Joe Jones Dies at 62; Top Modern Jazz Drummer". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b Carr, Ian; Priestley, Brian; Fairweather, Digby (2004). The Rough Guide to Jazz 3. Rough Guides. ISBN 978-1843532569.
  4. ^ "About Philly Joe Jones", MTV Artists.
  5. ^ "Philly Joe Jones Discography - session index",
  6. ^ "Philly Joe Jones – Trailways Express (aka Mo' Joe)", Dusty Groove.
  7. ^ "Philly Joe Jones: Mo' Joe – Credits", AllMusic.