Max Jones

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Ronald Maxwell "Max" Jones (28 February 1917, London - 1 August 1993, Chichester) was a British Jazz author, radio host, and journalist.

Life and achievements[edit]

Together with his brother Cliff, Jones taught himself to play the saxophone, before the two of them founded a dance band in 1930. Named “Campus Club Dance Band” it was semi-professional and when it had been dissolved in 1935, Jones tried to establish himself as a professional musician, becoming a member of a combo led by trumpeter Johnny Claes, with musicians who played in the style of Coleman Hawkins. In 1942 and 1943, Jones worked for the BBC radio programme “Radio Rhythm Club”; and in 1942, together with authors Albert Mc Carthy and Charles Fox, he founded the magazine Jazz Music,[1] which became meritorious as it set out "to reassert the pioneering role of the African-American, to emphasise the music’s social dimensions, and to attack the glossy commercialism of big-band swing".[2]

Since 1944, Jones had had a full-time job writing features for the Melody Maker in the column “Collectors’ Corner”.[3] In the following years he gained more and more high recognition as a proven expert of New Orleans Jazz, swing, and mainstream jazz.[1] A collection of his articles on musicians such as Coleman Hawkins, Johnny Hodges, Billie Holiday, and Mary Lou Williams was published as a book entitled Talking Jazz in 1987. In 1971 Jones published a Louis Armstrong biography, Louis Armstrong Story, together with John Chilton. Jones also wrote a number of liner notes, e.g. for the CD edition of the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band[4] and the Spirits of Rhythm.[5]

Jones was the first jazz musician to become a professional journalist and exclusively dealt with jazz in his publications.[1] He was a model and a mentor for a younger generation of rock music critics and authors. .[6]

Jones was married to Betty Salberg and had one son.[1]


  • LOUIS: The Louis Armstrong Story, 1900-1971 (with John Chilton) Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1971 ISBN 0-306-80324-0
  • "LOUIS: The Louis Armstrong Story 1900 - 1971" (with John Chilton) New York City (new preface by Dan Morgenstern) : Da Capo Press 1988 ISBN 0-306-80322-6
  • TALKING JAZZ" : London, MacMillan, 1987 ISBN 0-333-43431-5
  • "JAZZ TALKING" : "Profiles, Interviews & Other Riffs" New York City: (new preface by Stanley Dance) Da Capo Press, 2000 ISBN 0-306-80948-6
  • Lee Collins, Mary Spriggs Collins, Frank Gillis, John W. Miner Oh, Didn't He Ramble: The Life Story of Lee Collins (preface by Max Jones)


  1. ^ a b c d obituary in The Independent, 4 August 1993
  2. ^ the Jazz site
  3. ^ Floyd Levin, Benny Carter: Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians
  4. ^
  5. ^ Vgl. Ian Carr, Digby Fairweather, Brian Priestley: Jazz Rough Guide, Stuttgart 1999, S. 606
  6. ^ John Shepherd: Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. Vol. 1: Media, Industry and Society, S. 305

External links[edit]