Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
For nearly 30 years, Claude Jones was a reliable trombonist who was both a fine soloist and a valuable section player in big bands. The future brother-in-law of Quentin Jackson, Jones began playing trombone (after some trumpet and drum lessons) when he was 13. After attending Wilberforce College for a time, Jones dropped out in 1922 and joined the Synco Jazz Band (an ancestor of McKinney's Cotton Pickers). He played off and on with the group into 1929. Jones gained some recognition for his work with Fletcher Henderson (1929-1931). He worked with a variety of top swing bands including Don Redman (1931-1933), back with Henderson (1933-1934), Alex Hill and Chick Webb before settling in for a stretch with Cab Calloway (1934-1940). In the early '40s Jones played with the Coleman Hawkins big band, Zutty Singleton, Joe Sullivan, Henderson a third time (1941-1942), Benny Carter, Don Redman (1943), a second period with Calloway and then Duke Ellington (1944-1948). Jones had more opportunities to solo with Henderson's Orchestra then he did with the other bands and he was underutilized during his Ellington years. After working with Henderson's Sextet in 1950 and briefly with Duke in 1951, he became a mess steward aboard the S.S. United States, passing away at sea 11 years later. In addition to his many records with Henderson, the 1928-1929 version of McKinney's Cotton Pickers and most of the other big bands with which he had stints, Claude Jones made recordings with Connie's Inn Orchestra (1931), Jelly Roll Morton (1939), and Louis Armstrong-Sidney Bechet (1940) although never as a leader.