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Burgher Jones: 1924-2000
Burgher Jones
Bass, tuba, piano

Born: February 17, 1924 in Hope, Arkansas
Died: June 9, 2000 in Carmel Valley, California

Bass Player Took Flight From Bird

Copyright © 2000 


Burgher Jones, who was more familiarly known as Buddy, was inspired to take up music as a career after meeting Charlie Parker in Kansas City as a teenage student (he is said to have introduced the saxophonist to his future wife, Chan). He began playing bass while serving in the Navy, then played with Charlie Ventura before moving firstly to Los Angeles in the late 1940s, and then New York in the early 1950s.

His roster of associations was extensive. He toured with the big bands of Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, recorded with Buddy DeFranco, and worked with a number of famous singers, including Peggy Lee and Frank Sinatra. A partial listing of musicians with whom he played would include Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Lennie Tristano, Red Rodney, Jimmy Knepper, Don Lamphere, Gene Roland, Elliot Lawrence, Tiny Kahn, Joe Newman, Billy Byers, Osie Johnson, Manny Albam, Johnny Carisi, Thad Jones, Quincy Jones, Gerry Mulligan, Urbie Green, Bernie Glow, Conte Candoli, Ernie Royal, Hank Jones, Ernie Wilkins, among many others.

Jones said that he had particularly fond memories of working as a consultant with saxophonist Lenny Niehaus and Clint Eastwood on Bird, Eastwood’s well intentioned film based on the life of Charlie Parker.

He died from pancreatic cancer.

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