Mr. Leroy Jones
“We're trying to play music together, and music is very intimate as you know. It's almost a love affair up there on the stage, and if everything is not right, and feelings and emotions are not right between the musicians, you're going to have a little bit of a problem. It's like a marriage, you know. In music, there has to be a musical communication.”
- Leroy Jones
Born in 1958, trumpeter Leroy Jones was raised in New Orleans’s Seventh Ward. He started playing cornet at St. Leo the Great Elementary School and soon got a trumpet. When he was twelve, his neighbor Danny Barker heard him practicing and recruited him for the Fairview Baptist Church Band, which Jones later led. Sometimes after finishing Fairview gigs in the French Quarter, Jones and his bandmates would stop by Preservation Hall to listen.
Jones went on to play with Harry Connick Jr. and His Orchestra and become a member of the New Orleans Jazz Hall of Fame. Trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard remembers growing up around Jones: “He was the guy that was well ahead of his time. He played with a command and maturity that is still unmatched. When I listened to him play I always imagined myself having that tone, or his sense of phrasing, and definitely his sense of rhythm. He was and still is my hero.” These days, when he’s not on tour, Jones leads his own band at the Hall each week, delighting audiences with his impeccable technique, modern swing, and warm, gentle voice. He is married to Hall trombonist Katja Toivola.
Photo courtesy of Shannon Brinkman.
Excerpted from “Preservation Hall: Portraits By Shannon Brinkman and Interviews by Eve Abrams” (LSU Press)
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