Mike Jones (jazz musician)
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Mike Jones in 2013
August 11, 1962|
|Associated acts||Penn & Teller|
He first garnered praise as a young musician, performing professionally at the age of ten. Following the advice of Oscar Peterson, Jones attended Berklee School of Music, in Boston. While still attending the school he started work as a studio musician.
During his time commuting from Boston to New York, Jones worked as the on-air pianist and music director of the Nancy Merrill Show. He also appeared throughout the New England area with jazz musicians Herb Pomeroy, Gray Seargent, Dick Johnson, and others. In 1994 his first solo recording on Chiaroscuro Records, Oh, Look At Me Now was released. This was followed by Runnin' Wild recorded live in Buffalo, N.Y., his hometown, and then Live at Steinway Hall, in New York City.
Through his association with Hank O'Neal, Mike was invited to perform on the Floating Jazz Festival on the S.S. Norway and later, the Queen Elizabeth 2. The Verve reissue of Oscar Peterson's On the Town featured liner notes by Neil Tesser with extensive commentary by Mike Jones. Penn Jillette and his friends found him playing at a Las Vegas resort, and were invited to the recording sessions for Stretches Out, Jones's fourth solo CD for Chiaroscuro. In February 2002, he was invited to become part of the Penn & Teller show, and performs nightly with them at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino.
Jones wrote the theme tune for Penn Jillette's radio show Penn Radio, including many variations. (Jillette plays bass on many of these themes.) He also created some special themes for Monkey Tuesday and Pull of the Weasel Friday.
Jones also made an appearance in an episode of Bullshit! which was critical of twelve-step programs. Jones was introduced by Penn as having been significantly overweight, but lost ninety pounds with his "own special one step program", which Penn explained as being "like the twelve step, but with a few minor adjustments". Jones explained his program as "Just stop fucking eating so much".
His live CD is Live at The Green Mill, recorded with a trio, Kelly Sill on bass, and Tim Davis on drums, at the legendary Chicago jazz club.
He signed with Capri Records in 2014, and released Plays Well with Others, featuring Jeff Hamilton on drums and 21-year-old prodigy Mike Gurrola on bass. The album has a cover by David Silverman (as a tribute to the Diane Arbus photograph Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park) and liner notes by Penn Jillette. His second release on Capri, “Roaring”,with Katie Thiroux on bass, and Matt Witek on drums features music of the 1920s, and was released in 2016, again with cover art by David Silverman.
In 2015 Jones appeared on Broadway, writing original music for, and performing in,”Penn & Teller On Broadway”.
Jones has been featured in the last 3 seasons of “Penn & Teller Fool Us” on the CW network
Jones lives in Las Vegas.