Drummer Harold Jones on swinging Basie, Tony Bennett, and life


Legendary drummer Harold Jones talks with me about growing up in Chicago with legends Herbie Hancock and Frank Strozier, and touring with Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Duke Ellington, and countless others that will make your jaw drop. He reflects on the great clubs of the 1950s and 60s and the fertile ground they offered young musicians seeking to grow and learn. And he waxes philosophical about playing with dynamics and understanding what the music calls for. A great chat with a great musician. We spoke way back on September 11, 2012 in Austin, Texas when Harold was in town for an Austin City Limits recording with Tony Bennett, who he has toured with for many years.

I republishing this old post as a new episode in Groovin on life. I shared this interview on Soundcloud at the time it was recorded because I had not yet launched the podcast. Shows you how long I had been pondering doing something like Groovin on life. Now that we’re up and running I wanted to include my chat with Harold in the series with the place it deserves. An inspired conversation with a legend in jazz. Enjoy.



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  1. God love momma Juanita for putting up with all of us making noise on her back porch.

      1. Have you read Harold Jones: The Singer’s Drummer by Gil Jacobs? Amazon has it in both hardcopy and paperback. Great read and a lot of good background about his early years and training.

        1. Thanks, Scott. I’ve started a new site: an interactive discography for Tony Bennett. It’s still being built, but part of it are functional. Would love to get some feedback. discography.bloggingtonybennett.com

        2. Sounds very cool. I’ll definitely give it a look. Harold speaks so highly of Tony, not only as a great artist, but as a great person. Have you met Tony or ever had an opportunity to interview him? I’d love to someday.

        3. I was supposed to meet him last month after a show in Tacoma, but they were flying out immediately afterwards to the next gig. 🙁

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