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June 20, 2000

Article sent by Adam Miller.

The original article can be found on SFGate.com here:
June 20, 2000 (SF Chronicle)
Burgher Jones
Jim Doyle

Burgher "Buddy" Jones, a jazz bassist of international renown, died at his Carmel Valley home Friday of pancreatic cancer at age 76.

Mr. Jones, whose career as a professional musician spanned six decades, played with many jazz greats, including legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker, a close friend.

The two musicians had first become friends in Kansas City before Parker became famous. In the early 1950s, they were roommates and bandmates in New York City.

"Although Buddy was not a famous musician, he was on hundreds of records. And he was very close to many of the jazz luminaries," said Adam Miller, a friend of Mr. Jones'.

Buddy Jones grew up in Hope, Ark., the hometown of President Bill Clinton. He studied piano for 10 years as a boy, then picked up the acoustic bass as a teenager. He dropped out of the University of Kansas City and began to play bebop jazz.

"He heard Charlie Parker rehearsing (in Kansas City), and it was as if he was struck by lightning. It was the seminal moment in his adult life," Miller said. "It became clear to him what he was going to do with the rest of his life."

During World War II, Mr. Jones joined the Navy School of Music and was stationed in Hawaii.

For two decades, he lived in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. He would get up early and drive into Manhattan to do Jack Sterling's radio show as a CBS staff musician.

Mr. Jones was the bassist in the Elliot Lawrence band, playing tunes arranged by saxophonist Al Cohn and composer Johnny Mandel, who wrote "The Shadow of Your Smile."

In the late 1950s, Mr. Jones toured with band leaders Harry James and Tommy Dorsey. He also played in big bands behind singers Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra.

A highlight of Mr. Jones' career was his performance in the early 1960s on the original "Phil and Quil" album, one of the milestone recordings of jazz, with Phil Woods and Gene Quill.

In 1971, Mr. Jones moved to rural Carmel Valley, where he and his wife, Marilynn Jones, lived in a ranch house on the country road that leads to Tassajara Hot Springs.

The Buddy Jones Trio, which included guitarist Bruce Forman and flugelhorn player Jackie Coon, played for many years at the Plaza Linda restaurant in Carmel Valley.

In 1980, he served as a consultant on Clint Eastwood's movie, "Bird," a biographical film about Charlie Parker's life and genius. In 1996, Mr. Jones was inducted into the Arkansas Jazz Hall of Fame.

He is survived by his wife, Marilynn; his two sons, Calvin and Lyle Jones, both of Pennsylvania; and four grandchildren.

Two concerts are planned in Mr. Jones' honor at the Hidden Valley Music Seminars in Carmel Valley. All proceeds will benefit his family.

The first concert, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 9, features trombonist Bill Watrous, pianist Dave Frishberg, saxophonist George Young, bassist John Wiitala, drummer Vince Lateano, Mandel, and Forman.

The second concert, at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 23, features pianist and songwriter Bob Dorough, jazz vocalist Madeline Eastman, Coon, and Frishberg. For tickets call (831) 649-3761.

Copyright 2000 SF Chronicle

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