b. Edward Jones, 1 March 1929, Red Bank, New Jersey, USA, d. 31 May 1997, Hartford, Connecticut, USA. For 10 years a member of the Count Basie band, bass player Eddie Jones grew up in a house just two doors away from Basie’s home. As an undergraduate at the local Howard University, Jones studied musical education, and collaborated with Frank Wess and Bill Hugham (later members of the Basie band) and composer Benny Golson. After graduation he also toured with Sarah Vaughan and worked as a teacher. Jones eventually joined Basie’s band in 1953, although competition for places was hot: ‘You couldn’t afford to get sick in that band - if you didn’t show up you disappeared.’
The bass player’s mellifluous style, and deep, resonant tone, proved a perfect accompaniment to drummer Sonny Payne in the Basie group, and he soon found himself in demand as a session player. Among the famous band leaders with whom he recorded were Milt Jackson, Ray Charles, Joe Newman, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Thad Jones. However, it was his contributions to the ‘New Testament’ version of Basie’s band that made his name. He eventually left Basie in 1963 after a disagreement over wages. He attempted to break into the New York studio scene but was disconcerted by the racism that stood in the way of black musicians attempting to work on commercial projects. Instead, he became an executive with IBM Records. He toured with various jazz aggregations in his holidays, even during his stint as an insurance salesman in Hartford, Connecticut, where he died in 1997.