|Birth name||Dillwyn Owen Paton Jones|
|Also known as||Dill Jones|
August 19, 1923|
Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire, Wales
June 22, 1984 (aged 60)|
New York City, United States
|Genres||Dixieland, jazz, swing, stride, ragtime|
|Associated acts||Gene Krupa, Jimmy McPartland, Yank Lawson, Budd Johnson, Oliver Jackson and Bill Pemberton|
Jones was born in Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire, on 19 August 1923. He was brought up in New Quay on the Cardiganshire coast. Music was in the family as his mother was a pianist and his aunt played organ at the Methodist Tabernacle. He was turned onto jazz as a 10-year-old by hearing records by Fats Waller and Bix Beiderbecke on the radio.
After leaving college Jones followed his father into banking but was called up by the Royal Navy for wartime service in the Far East. When the war ended he enrolled at Trinity College of Music in London but did not complete the course, preferring the informality of late night jazz sessions.
Jones joined the Harry Parry Sextet and Vic Lewis' Orchestra before plying his trade as ship's pianist on the luxury liner, the Queen Mary, sailing between New York City and Southampton. This gave him the chance to visit New York's jazz clubs and see the likes of Coleman Hawkins and Lennie Tristano. After forming the Dill Jones Quartet in 1959, he emigrated to the United States in 1961. Settling in New York City, he became an expert in the Harlem stride style. Jones was soon in demand, and earned his reputation playing with the likes of Gene Krupa, Jimmy McPartland and Yank Lawson. Between 1969-73, Jones he was a member of the JPJ Quartet with Budd Johnson, Oliver Jackson and Bill Pemberton. Jones never forgot his homeland, and in 1978 he came back to the U.K. to perform at the inaugural Welsh Jazz Festival in Cardiff.
A double CD anthology of Dill Jones` work was released in 2004, entitled Davenport Blues - Dill Jones plays Bix, Jones And A Few Others. Included amongst the 31 tracks are many of Jones' own compositions, including "New Quay Blues" and "There Are no Flowers In Tiger Bay".
Jones also appears on several tracks on a fellow Welsh jazz musician's CD: Wyn Lodwick and Friends - My 50 Years In Jazz - featuring Dill Jones.
He died from throat cancer in a New York hospital on 22 June 1984 at the age of 60. Jet said he was "instrumental in bringing jazz to British television when he hosted the BBC Jazz Club." He was honoured later that year at the National Eisteddfod in Lampeter by being posthumously admitted to the Gorsedd of Bards, cited as "one of the leading jazz pianists in the world". The New York Times wrote in his obituary "A versatile, accomplished pianist, he was a master of the Harlem stride style of Fats Waller and a well-known interpreter of the piano music of Bix Beiderbecke".
With Kenny Davern
- Larkin, Colin (1995). The Guinness encyclopedia of popular music. Guinness Pub. p. 2202. ISBN 978-1-56159-176-3. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- "Dill Jones, Pianist, Dies at 60; Expert in Harlem Stride Style". The New York Times. 23 June 1984. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- Johnson Publishing Company (10 September 1984). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. pp. 18–. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved 30 May 2012.