Saturday, March 12, 2022

Philly Joe's early career

“When I got to New York I joined a rhythm-and-blues band right away, with Joe Morris, Johnny Griffin, Elmo Hope, and Percy Heath. It was an 8-piece group. We barnstormed all over the country, from Key West, to Maine, to California. I stayed with them for 3 or 4 years, I guess. Joe Morris had a lot of hits at that time. Today, you speak about a band having a number-one hit on the charts. In those days, Joe Morris had 3 or 4 hits going at once. He was making good money because he worked all the time.

After I left his band, I was in the Highlanders with Tiny Grimes. We had kilts and all that. I was not in that band too long. Then I went to Bull Moose Jackson's band, which was another rhythm-and-blues band. Most of the bands in those days played rhythm-and-blues and I did a lot of playing with groups like that. I was on the road with Jackson's band for a good while, and then I was in Arnett Cobb's band for a little while after that.”

- Philly Joe Jones, 1982 MD interview with Rick Mattingly


Ed Pierce said...

I acquired the Atlantic Records Rhythm and Blues Compilation several years ago, and was delighted to find that one of the earliest recordings on it has Philly Joe on drums: The Applejack by Joe Morris, from 1948 (the recording also has Johnny Griffin, Percy Heath, and Elmo Hope on it). By the time Philly Joe first started making waves on jazz recordings (circa 1953) he'd racked up a lot of experience playing in bands.

Incidentally, Connie Kay is on a lot of Atlantic sides in the early 50's (before he joined the MJQ). It appears that he was almost Atlantic's house drummer during that period.

Michael Griener said...

If you really want to know (and I think every jazz drummer worth his salt wants to ), read this thesis JONESIN': THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF PHILLY JOE JONES by DUSTIN E. MALLORY.
This is the most thorough study of Philly Joe Jones' career that I know of.
And I really looked around, as you can probably tell.
It is a very good read, I really recommend it.