Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Born in 1947 in Wales, Percy Jones is a true innovator on the fretless electric bass, with a nimble, fluid, and harmonic-rich style that is uniquely his own. An autodidact, Jones played fretted bass for a number of years before switching to fretless, and his inimitable approach helped to set British jazz-rockers Brand X apart from other fusion outfits on such albums as Unorthodox Behaviour (1976), Morrocan Roll (1976), and Masques (1978). Even as Brand X underwent numerous lineup changes over the years (Phil Collins was the group's first drummer but departed before the recording of Masques), Jones' characteristic tone and touch remained constants across sporadic releases by the group extending into the 1990s. Meanwhile, Brian Eno tapped Jones to contribute atmospheric bass on some of his early forays blending ambient experimentation with pop forms, namely Another Green World (1975) and Before and After Science (1977). Jones also appeared on Eno's more purely ambient Music for Films (1978).
Jones subsequently moved to New York City and recorded his solo album Cape Catastrophe at a studio in East Harlem in 1988 and 1989, playing his five-string Wal V bass in live accompaniment to tracks he laid down using synthesizer, sequencer, drum machine, and digital delay. Cape Catastrophe was released in 1990, a year that also saw the arrival of Propeller Music by the Percy Jones Ensemble, in addition to Jones featuring guitarist Jeff Llewelyn, violinist Shankar, vocalist Joe Sofia, keyboardist Anton Sanko, drummer Sterling Campbell, and drummer Mike Clark. During his musical career, Jones has also briefly played bass with jazz-rock-era Soft Machine; led the fusion ensemble Tunnels from the late '90s into the new millennium; and performed and/or recorded with a variety of artists including Steve Hackett, David Sylvian, Richard Barbieri, Roy Harper, and Suzanne Vega.