Jonah Jones - Jonah's Wail

One of the most exciting jazz trumpeters to emerge in the 1930s, Jonah Jones had a colorful and historic career. Born in 1909, he played on Mississippi riverboats in the late 1920s. Jones worked with a variety of bands in the 1930s including with violinist Stuff Smith in Buffalo during 1932-34. When he rejoined Smith during 1936-40, their group was one of the biggest attractions on 52nd Street. Jones was a star soloist with Cab Calloway during 1941-52 and he played Dixieland with Earl Hines for a year. When Jones led his quartet at the Embers in New York in 1955, he developed a formula, playing show tunes, swing numbers and Dixieland standards while utilizing a shuffle rhythm. To everyone’s surprise, he had big hit recordings of “It’s All Right With Me,” “On The Street Where You Live” and “Baubles, Bangles and Beads.” Jones ended up staying at the Embers for nine years and was a household name for the rest of his life.

Jonah’s Wail is arguably the most exciting record ever recorded by Jonah Jones. Recorded in Paris in 1954, eight performances team Jones with Sidney Bechet. They often battle each other during these numbers, especially on the two versions of “When You Wore A Tulip” and “Chinatown, My Chinatown,” and sparks really fly. The remainder of this album teams Jones with tenor-saxophonist Alex Combelle and their versions of “Jonah's Wail” and “Love Is Just Around The Corner” are also quite stirring. Jonah’s Wail is essential for every serious jazz collection.


SKU: IC7021

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When You Wore A Tulip When You Word A Tulip (alt. take) Lonesome Road Crazy Rhythm Somebody Stole My Gal Squeeze Me Chinatown, My Chinatown Chinatown, My Chinatown (alt. take) Coquette Confessin' Jonah's Wail Love Is Just Around The Corner Whale's Blues I May Be Wrong

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Jonah Jones
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Sidney Bechet, Andre Pesiany, Benoit Quersin
SKU IC7021


Customer Reviews (2)

"Enormously Fine Jonah!"Review by Big Toots
IC 7021 Jonah’s Wail Jonah Jones

Monstrous sea creatures and biblical references notwithstanding, Jonah Jones wasn’t called “King Louis II” for nothing. As Pops (and Clark Terry and many others) had done, Jones, as a young and upcoming trumpeter, plied his musical trade nautically on Mississippi riverboats. The strong Armstrong similarities didn’t end there, as you’ll experience on this enlightening Swing-heavy recording. Musically and historically delicious for 14 cuts, it displays Jones front-lined with the legendary saxophonist, Sidney Bechet for over half of it. Fine French tenor man, Alex Combelle covered the 6 earlier-recorded tracks.

The pairing of Jones and Bechet elicits an excitement that is almost palpable in swing (“When You Wore a Tulip”). From Bar One, the Armstrong similarities in Jones’ playing are omnipresent – rock-hard swing, the biting articulation expressed in terse musical statements, and the brazen explorations into the horn’s higher elevations (“Crazy Rhythm,” “Chinatown, My Chinatown,” “I’m Confessin’,” “Jonah’s Wail”). For those who might remember Jones from later recording activity – where he favored more sedated, primarily muted presentations, “Jonah’s Wail” will be an epiphany. That aforementioned regal “crown” certainly fits here. Jones even throws in a Bop-inflected lick or two for good measure.

Similarly, Bechet is effusive with his classic Hot stylings – exaggerated “vocalized” vibrato, longer and more intense sustained wails, screams and cascades (“Lonesome Road”). Already well-established as an iconic Hot and Swing jazzer, even as musical times were rapidly evolving, Bechet is on his game. Combelle shades Coleman Hawkins and Don Byas to a t and does a fine job doing so. Not much is lost on those tracks. And, with Jones a firebrand to the end, they also are superb listening.

The songbook for the date covers classic Hot and Swing standards, (“I’m Confessin’,” “Chinatown, My Chinatown,” “Somebody Stole My Gal”). The rep is the perfect musical croissant for Jones’ and Bechet’s butter. And, Brother, do they lay it on! The French rhythm sections support their American buds with great drive, if not with as much intensity as the better-known players up front (“Jonah’s Wail”).

“Jonah’s Wail” affords us the luxury to hear superior jazz performed by very Big jazz characters. So, go ahead and swallow it up! No “spitballs” here.
(Posted on 5/20/2015)
Jonah JonesReview by Simon Sez
Jonah Jones became very famous in the late 1950s for his muted trumpet versions of standards and show tunes, usually using a shuffle rhythm. Well forget about that Jonah Jones when listening to Jonah’s Wail, for this is a lot different. His explosive playing on Jonah’s Wail is closer to how he sounded when wailing with Stuff Smith’s group on 52nd Street in the 1930s, or when he was called upon by Cab Calloway to take a few hot choruses. This might very well be the most exciting record that he ever recorded.
From 1954, Jones is heard on eight numbers battling it out with Sidney Bechet. Few trumpeters could survive such an encounter but Jones battles Bechet to a tie on really exhilarating versions of “When You Wore A Tulip” and “Chinatown, My Chinatown.” Jones is also in heated form on six numbers with the French saxophonist Alix Combelle. Put this music on for anyone who says that jazz is dull, predictable and/or too intellectual and see what they say! This music is far too exciting not to be enjoyed by everyone.

Simon Sez: Jonah’s Wail (IC7021) from trumpeter Jonah Jones with Sidney Bechet is simply one of the most exciting records ever made!
(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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