Ben Jones Jazz
Swing & Jazz available for hire, based in New South Wales
He is just 33 years of age, but reedman and vocalist Ben Jones has already played and recorded with some of Australia's finest musicians including; Tom Baker and Len Barnard, Geoff Bull, Col Nolan, Janet Seidel, Monica and the Moochers, Don Burrows and James Morrison, He has played at most major Jazz festivals and venues around the country, being a featured artist at the Manly, Thredbo, Wangaratta, Wagga, Noosa and Newcastle festivals, and is now the patron of the Dubbo Jazz Festival.
In January 2002 his "4tet" performed for a record crowd of 90,000 people at "Jazz in the Domain", co-headlining with two other Australian groups and Maria Schneider, award winning composer/conductor from New York.
Ben is often part of James Morrison's six-piece swing band, which features Ed Wilson and the young vocalist Emma Pask, and was an original member of John Morrison's big-band "Swing City".
He was featured on Col Nolan's albulm "Nolan's Groove", which was finalist for "Jazz Album of the Year" at the ARIA awards, and appears on Janet Seidel's "The Art of Lounge Vol.2", where he joins Janet in a vocal duet, He can also be heard soloing with James Morrison on the Swing City CD "Serious Fun".
August 2001 saw the release of Ben's debut solo alnum "It Might As Well Be Swing" on the La Brava label. It was still in the Top 10 on Australia's Independent Jazz Charts in October, 2003 and has been met with great critical acclaim. It features on of the last recordings made by the legendary Tom Baker, who passed away late 2001.
Jones was fortunate enough to have his first tour to Europe with Baker in July 2001, playing at the world renowned Ascona New Orleans Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Ben has since returned to Ascona three times, and has played with some of the world's finest swing players including Dan Barret, Hary Allen, Ed Metz Jr, Howard Alden, Freedy Lonzo, Berndt Lhotsky, Christian Hopkins, Leroy Jones and Craig Kline.
In 2003 he was a member of the "All-Star" festival band in Breda, Holland, which also featured trombone sensation from New York, John Allred and English trumpeter Colin Dawson, and recorded two CD's in Breda, featuring Antoine Trommelen, Harry Kanters, Bert Boeren and Simon Stribbling. Later that year Jones had a highly successful series of performances at the inaugural "Osaka Jazz City" festival in Japan.
2004 marked Ben's return to Europe, this time touring extensively with "The Wooden Shoe'd Kangaroos"; an Australian/Dutch collaboration in tribute to the 100th birthdays of Coleman Hawkins, Fats Waller and Count Basie. This band released the "Basie, Bean and Fats Project" on CD in Europe and now it is available on La Brava Music in Australia as his 2nd solo album. Upon release in Australia it debuted at number seven on the independent jazz music charts.
2007 saw the release of Jones's latest CD. "Bobby Darin - A Jazz Portrait." A unique interpretation of Darin's popular hits with renditions of hits such as Mach the Knife and Charade.
His saxophone sound is reminiscent of the big-toned 1930's and 40's tenor players, being equally at home playing ballads, up-tempo swing, driving blues, or "hot" New Orleans styles. Unlike many other players his age, Jones has never been one to branch too far into the Be-Bop Idiom, preffering to focus on his traditional roots. His vocal style is also growing into a unique mix of swing and "crooning", taking heed of the masters; Sinatra, Bennett and Torme. Presently, Ben is leading his own group, "The Ben Jones Quintet" which comprises some of Sydney's finest young musicians following the respected tradition, while bringing a fresh and exciting approach to swinging jazz.
"Mature beyond his tender years, Ben took the audience on a wonderful journey through Bobby Darin's jazz songbook...He had the audience in the palm of his hand as he launched into the quirky tale of "Clementine" followed by a hot tenor solo in the classic Mancini song "Charade". Ben and the boys came back for their encore and nailed "Mack The Knife" as a fittinh finale. Ben's singing debut at the Orpheum was a knockout with our audience and we look forward to many more performances from one of Australia's most accomplished and versatile jazz musicians." Roger Merrell - Cremorne Orpheum Theatre, Sydney Australia
"This Darin tribute is one with a difference and far from an imitator, Ben manages to capture the wilder and jazzier side of Darin's persona, both singing and playing saxophone to great affect. What you hear is a recording from the audience perspective recalling not so much the slickness but the energy and exuberance of a young Darin on a jazz gig. Ben fronts a swinging group of Sydey musicians with aplomb and the recording is an all digital affair making use of the best of valve microphones and equipments to ensure a warm, true and friendly sound." David Seidel - La Brava Music