Willie Jones III
Willie Jones III
Willie Jones III
Aarhus, Denmark 2007
|Born||June 8, 1968|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Associated acts||Black Note, Roy Hargrove|
Willie Jones III (born June 8, 1968, Los Angeles, California) is a jazz drummer. He has played, toured, and recorded with Horace Silver, Roy Hargrove, Hank Jones, Cedar Walton, and Herbie Hancock. He played on Arturo Sandoval's Grammy-winning album Hot House (1998).
Jones' father, also named Willie Jones, was a pianist, composer and arranger, who moved to Los Angeles from Jacksonville in 1961. By the time Jones was born, his father "was gigging locally and working as a vocal coach for entertainers, including Ann-Margret."
Later life and career
Jones was one of the founding members of the band Black Note in 1990. Members of this ensemble included, at various times, Ark Sano, Eric Reed, Gilbert Castellanos, James Mahone, Kenneth Crouch, Mark Shelby, and Richard E. Grant. They released several albums.
In 1991, Jones began studying at the California Institute of the Arts, where he took drum lessons from Albert "Tootie" Heath. Jones played with Milt Jackson in 1994, and toured with trumpeter Arturo Sandoval from 1994 to 1998.
In 2000, Jones founded an independent jazz label, WJ3 Records. He said in 2017 that "It's a self-investment, [...] I'm not making a profit, but I'm not losing any money. I've become more proficient at putting out each project." He has regularly played with pianist Eric Reed, as the drummer for Wynton Marsalis' Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has several CDs released as a leader on his own label, playing hard bop and swing.
He is appreciated by jazz musicians for his exceptional speed and control, together with his use of a wide range of textures which characterize most of his playing. He is a master of many styles and moves quickly and easily between be-bop, big band, avant garde, and Latin jazz grooves.
Guitarist Russell Malone commented in 2017 that, "Some drummers can't get through two bars of music without trying to do something cute and slick, but with Willie, the time and the groove is not an afterthought. He's aware of each component of the song – the melody, the changes and the form. I like to incorporate different grooves into my things, and Willie does not turn up his nose at them. He knows exactly what to do."
An asterisk (*) indicates that the year is that of release.
|Year recorded||Title||Label||Personnel/Notes With Black Note|
|1991||43rd & Degnan||World Stage||With Black Note|
|1993||L.A. Underground||Red||With Black Note|
|1994||Jungle Music||Columbia||With Black Note|
|1996||Nothin' but the Swing||Impulse!||With Black Note|
|1996–99||Vol. 1...Straight Swingin'||WJ3|
|2001||Vol. 2...Don't Knock The Swing||WJ3|
|2009||The Next Phase||WJ3|
|2012||Willie Jones III Sextet Plays The Max Roach Songbook||WJ3||In concert|
|2017*||My Point Is...||WJ3|
|1994||Kei Akagi||Mirror Puzzle||AudioQuest|
|2001||Peter Beets||New York Trio||Criss Cross Jazz|
|2002||Peter Beets||New York Trio – Page Two||Criss Cross Jazz|
|1998||Ryan Kisor||The Usual Suspects||Lightyear|
|2007||Houston Person||Thinking of You||HighNote|
|2010||Houston Person||Moment to Moment||HighNote|
|1998||Arturo Sandoval||Hot House||N2K|
|1998||Horace Silver||Jazz Has a Sense of Humor||Verve|
|1999||Roy Hargrove||Moment to Moment||Verve|
|2005||Harold Mabern||Somewhere Over the Rainbow||Venus|
|2005||Peter Zak||For Tomorrow||SteepleChase|
|2009||Cedar Walton||Voices Deep Within||HighNote|
|2011||Cedar Walton||The Bouncer||HighNote|
|2013||Peter Zak||The Disciple||SteepleChase|
- Chadbourne, Eugene. "Willie Jones III | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- Panken, Ted (January 2018). "Merging Swing and Swagger". DownBeat. pp. 42–45.
- Owens, Thomas (2003). "Jones, Willie, III". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved December 30, 2017 – via Oxford Music Online.
- Yanow, Scott. "Black/Note | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- "Jazz Drummer Willie Jones III Sues Rapper Kendrick Lamar Over Stolen Sample". The Jazz Line. The Jazz Line. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
- Panken, Ted (January 2018). "Merging Swing and Swagger". DownBeat. p. 44.
- "Willie Jones III | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 November 2016.