Thad Jones Chronology

Compiled by David Demsey


1923/March 28 – Born, Pontiac Michigan; father a lumber inspector for General Motors, had moved to MI from Vicksburg, MS

Professional career began during high school (later 1930s)

C. 1936-7, started to play trumpet at age 14

C. 1936 in Arcadia Club Band in Pontiac, MI, led by trumpet-playing uncle Bill; band also contained Hank Jones

C. 1939, Formed The Hungry Five, played school dances; contained pianist Vivian Scott, tenorist Dan Turner

Last year in high school (1939?) played in 13-piece band in Saginaw, MI; had first contact with Big Nick Nicolas and Sonny Stitt, formed group with others from Flint, MI, went on road for 2.5 years, broke up in Indianapolis

1941 traveling with Connie Cornell band through South

1943 in Dallas for about six months, with band led by altoist Red Calhoun

1943/December-April 1946 – U.S. Army; first big band experience in G.I. band led by Jack Teagarden, Jr.; arranged for G.I. band that toured with the show “Bedtime Stories”

1946, formed own band in Oklahoma City

1946, played in Des Moines with Harold and Seymour Gray for 7 months

1948, recorded Swing, Not Spring, w/Billy Mitchell, Terry Pollard, piano/vibes; James Richardson? Alvin Jackson?, b; Elvin Jones, d.

1950-53 formed group with tenor saxophonist Billy Mitchell, also included Tommy Flanagan, bassist James Richardson, Elvin Jones

1952 subbed for Clark Terry with Basie’s small group, for one week in Boston

1953-4, tours with Larry Steele’s Smart Affairs Review [earlier???] pre-1950?

1954/May 12 – joins Count Basie Orchestra, recommended by Frank Wess

1954/August 11 – recorded The Fabulous Thad Jones, also known as Thad Jones

1954/August 16-17 – Basie recording sessions for Count Basie Dance Session Album #2 and Basie

1954/September 17 – recorded Thad Jones with Strings, one cut that appeared on Debut Records Autobiography in Jazz

1954-55 with Mingus Jazz Workshop

1954/December – recorded Jazz Experiment, Charles Mingus

1955/February – recorded The Happy Jazz of Osie Johnson

1955/May 9, 14, 18 Recorded The Jazz Workshop: Four Brass, One Tenor with Al Cohn

1955/May 16 – recorded The Wailing Buddy Rich

1955/May 17 – Basie recording sessions for Count Basie Swings and Joe Williams Sings

1955/July 26 – Basie recording sessions for April in Paris and Count Basie Swings and Joe Williams Sings

1955/August 29 – Thad Jones and Mel Lewis meet in Detroit at “battle of bands” with Count Basie Orchestra and Stan Kenton Orchestra.  Soupy Sales is emcee. See newpaper ad, donated by Gary Carner.

1955/October 17 – recorded Sonny Stitt Plays Arrangements from the Pen of Quincy Jones

1955??, son Bruce Thaddeus born

1956/January 4, 5, 11, 23 – Basie recording sessions for April in Paris, Ella Fizgerald, Count Basie, Joe Williams, Hall of Fame [Hall of Fame rec. 1/5/56 contains “Move,” credited by Kirchner as Thad’s first Basie arrangement]

1956/January – recorded with Leonard Feather/Dick Hyman, West Coast vs. East Coast

1956/March 13 – recorded Detroit/New York Junction

1956/April 28, May 1 – Basie recording sessions with Joe Williams for The Greatest: Count Basie Plays, Joe Williams Sings Standards

1956/June 11 – recorded with Leonard Feather/Dick Hyman, Hi Fi Suite with Feather

1956/June 25-27– Basie recording sessions with Ella Fitzgerald for Ella, Basie, Joe Williams: One O’Clock Jump, Hall of Fame and Metronome All-Stars 1956 NOTE: these sessions include “Move,” co-credited to Thad, his first Basie arrangment per B. Kirchner.

1956/July 9, 14 – recorded The Magnificent Thad Jones

1956/December 12, 1/6/57 – recorded Mad Thad

1956 – Winner, Down Beat Critics’ Poll – “New Star”

1957/January 6 – recorded The Jones Boys, w/Thad Jones, Reunald Jones, tpts; Quincy Jones, flgl; Jimmy Jones, p; Eddie Jones, b; Jo Jones, d.

1957/February 2 – recorded The Magnificent Thad Jones, Volume 3 [what was Volume 2?]

1957/February 7 – recorded Holiday for Jazz with Joe Holiday

1957/February 16 – recorded Olio – Prestige All-Stars – later released as Touché – Thad Jones & Frank Wess

1957/April 23-30 – Basie recording sessions in Los Angeles for Jamboree

1957/June 21 – recorded After Hours

1957/July – recorded Bop w/Phil Woods, George Wallington, p; Curley Russell, b; Art Taylor, d.

1957, September 19, Basie recording session for Every Day I Have the Blues, other unissued takes

1957, October 21-22, Basie recording session for Atomic Basie

1958, January 5, Basie Recording sessions for No Count Sarah with Sarah Vaughan; contains “No Count Blues” and others (TJ wrote other charts for this, arrangers not credited; TJ also receives conductor credit)

1958, March 4 – Basie recording session for Chairman of the Board, incl. “H.R.H. (Her Royal Highness)” and other unreleased material

1958/March 7 – recorded After Hours at the London House with Sarah Vaughan

1958/March 24 – recorded Keepin’ Up with the Joneses w/Thad, Hank, Elvin Jones and Eddie Jones, includes “Three and One”

1958/April 3-4, 14 – Basie recording session for Basie Plays Hefti

1958/April 28-29 – Basie recording session for Chairman of the Board, incl. “Mutt and Jeff”, other unissued material

1958/July 16 – recorded Kid from Denver with Paul Quinichette

1958/December 10, 12 – Basie recording session for Chairman of the Board, incl. “The Deacon,” “Speaking of Sounds”

1958/December 18-20, 24 – Basie recording session for Basie – One More Time

1959 February – Basie European tour; UK program lists “Deacon,” “Brushes and Brass”

1959/February – Basie UK concert recorded as The Count in England, incl. “The Deacon,” “Brushes and Brass”

1959/February 6 – Basie Europe concert recorded, location unknown released as The Atomic Period and again as Atomic Band in Europe; incl. “H.R.H,” “The Deacon”

1959/February 23, live Basie concert recorded as Live in Stockholm, incl. The Deacon, Brushes and Brass (aka Speaking of Sounds)

1959/April 24, live Basie concert recorded as Fresno, California, April 24, 1959, incl. “H.R.H.,” “Sweet and Purty”

1959/May 31 – recorded live with Basie at Americana Hotel in Miami, Breakfast Dance and Barbeque; band played this on an off night during a week at Birdland in New York

1959/June 1-2 – recorded Five By Monk By Five [n.b. – next day after Miami Basie date!]

1959/September 24-25, Chicago – Basie recording sessions for Every Day I Have the Blues

1959/October 24, 31 – recorded Motor City Scene

1959/December 8 – recorded with Frank Wess, I Hear Ya Talkin’ (unreleased until 1984)

1959/December 16, 18, 28, 30, 31 – Basie recording sessions for Dance Along With Basie, incl. Thad Jones arrangements of “It Had To Be You,” “Give Me the Simple Life,” “It’s a Pity to Say Goodnight,” “Fools Rush In,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “Easy Living,” “Can’t We Be Friends,” “How Am I To Know?”

1959/December 17 – recorded Imagination with Curtis Fuller

1960s/Early – wrote arrangements for Harry James

1960/May 12 – recorded Minor Strain w/Thad Jones, Lee Morgan, Billy Mitchell, Frank Wess, Hank Jones, Richard Davis, Osie Johnson, incl. “Subtle Rebuttal,” “Tip Toe,” “H&T Blues.”  This recording contains material from Birdland Story.

1960/June 7-9, 14-16, 22-24, July 12-13 – Basie recording sessions for Not Now, I’ll Tell You When, Best of Basie, Vol. 1, Best of Basie Vol. 2, incl. “Mama’s Talkin’ Soft” (6/9), “Not Now, I’ll Tell You When” (6/16 – titled “Super Chief” in TJ Archive pencil score), “Sweet ‘N’ Purty” (6/24)

1960?june Recorded Jazz is a Kick with Bob Brookmeyer

1960/August 24-27, Chicago – Basie recording sessions for Just the Blues

1960/September 6-7, Los Angeles – Basie recording sessions for Kansas City Suite

1960/December 13-15 – Basie recording sessions for Big Band Scene ’65, Easin’ It, Back With Basie, and other unreleased material

1961/June 27-28 – recorded with Basie, live at Birdland, NYC (includes “To You”), appeared as Basie at Birdland

1961/July 6-7 – recorded First Time – Count Meets the Duke, includes “To You”

1961/October 30-31, November 1-2 – Basie recording sessions for The Legend

1961/62, December 27, January 3 – recorded Elvin! w/Elvin, Hank Jones, Wess, A. Davis

1962/July 1, 3, 5, 13, 25-26 – Basie recording sessions for Big Band Scene ’65, Easin’ It, Back With Basie, World of Count Basie, incl. “The Elder” (7/1), “Toot Sweet” (7/1), “Bluish Grey” (7/25)

1962/August 9-12 – recorded with Basie, live at Dans Inn, in Grona Amusement Park, Stockholm, Sweden (w/Thad’s “The Elder,” “To You,” “Sweet ‘N’ Purty,” “Deacon,” “Counter Block,” 2 versions of “Bluish Grey” and his arrangement of “The Touch of Your Lips”)

1963, recorded A Little Juicy, Billy Mitchell

1963/March 18 – recorded For Someone I Love with Milt Jackson

1963/June 17-18, recorded Great Day, James Moody, H.Jones, Mel Lewis, R. Davis)

1963/August 22, 24 – recorded Members Only with Shirley Scott

1963/September 20, October 14 – recorded Soulmates with Ben Webster

1963 began doing studio work in New York City

1963/November 15-16 – recorded Right Here with Billy Taylor w/Oliver Nelson Orchestra

1963/November 29 – recorded Me and the Blues with Joe Williams

1963/December 30 – appears on Thelonious Monk Big Band and Quartet in Concert

1963 – records Sitt Goes Latin with Sonny Stitt

1963/December – leaves Count Basie Orchestra

After leaving Basie, with George Russell’s group for about six months

Just after leaving Basie (63?), with Duke Ellington Orchestra for about 10 days

1963/December 30, recorded Monk Big Band and Quartet in Concert, Philharmonic Hall

1964/February 4 – recorded Today and Tomorrow with McCoy Tyner

1964/March 9-10 – Harry James Orchestra records Plays New Versions of Down Beat Favorites, containing twelve Thad Jones arrangements

1964/March 11 – recorded See You at the Fair with Ben Webster

1964/August 1, 4, recorded Running the Gamut, James Moody, P.Brown, Workman, A. Heath

1964/November 10-11 – recorded More Blues and the Abstract Truth with Oliver Nelson

1964/November, joined brother Hank as CBS-TV staff studio musician

1964/Autumn, co-led with Mel Lewis a small group appearing at the Jazz Scene in New York, including Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgion, Quentin Jackson and Benny Powell

1964/December 8 – recorded J.J. Johnson and His Orchestra

1965/March 18 – recorded And Then Again with Elvin Jones

1965 formed rehearsal band with drummer Mel Lewis, first mention in December

1966/February 7 – First Monday night appearance of “The Jazz Orchestra” at Village Vanguard jazz club, New York City – string of four Mondays [Opening night recorded by Alan Grant, released in 2000 as Opening Night, also in 2016 as All My Yesterdays; both also contain music from March Vanguard week]

1966/March – full week at Vanguard [Monday, March 21 recorded], concert debut at Hunter College, appearance at Town Hall at benefit for late clarinetist Hank D’Amico [also rccorded, in Local 802 vaults, broadcast in 1987 on WKAP  “Stars of Jazz” with host Sammy Anderson]

1966/March 23-24 – recorded Midnight Walk with Elvin Jones

1966/May 4-6 – recorded Presenting Thad Jones, Mel Lewis and the Jazz Orchestra

1966/April 26, May 4, 9 – recorded Mean What You Say, Thad Jones / Pepper Adams Quintet

1966/July 4  Appeared at newport Trumpet Workshop Session w/Howard McGhee, Kenny Dorham; released as Best of Jazz Trumpet

1966/September 30 – recorded Joe Williams with TJMLO

1967 – Winner, Down Beat Critics’ Poll – “Best Arranger”

1967/January 23-24 – wrote five arrangements for Sarah Vaughan LP Sassy Swings Again; other arrangers included Manny Albam, J.J. Johnson, Bob James

1967/February 14-15 – recorded Spirit of ’67 with Oliver Nelson

1967/April 24 – recording sessions for TJMLO 45 rpm release “Hawaii”

1967/April 28  – recorded Live at the Village Vanguard

1967/May – Harry James Orchestra records Our Leader!, containing “That’s Thad,” original Thad Jones composition/arrangement

1968/March 6, 9 – recorded Speak Like a Child with Herbie Hancock

1968/April 22 – recorded TV broadcast to appear as Jazz Casual

1968/April – recorded Look of Love with Stanley Turrentine

1968/October 17 – recorded Monday Night

Late 1960s – “brushes up” with arranging studies with clarinetist/arranger Bill Stegmeyer

1969/April 22 – recorded television show “Jazz Casual” hosted by Ralph Gleason, KQED television studios, San Francisco

1969, recorded TJML Miss Ruth Brown

1969, toured Europe, recorded Jazz Wave

1969/September 11 –  recorded Basle, 1969

1969/June 17-18 – recorded Central Park North

1970/January 21, 28, May 25 – recorded Consummation

1972-1975 – Winner four consecutive years, Down Beat Readers Poll,

1972/January 25, 26, 31 September 1 – recorded Suite for Pops

1972/April – May – U.S. State Department tour of Soviet Union – Leningrad 4/2-6; Kiev 4/8-11; Rostov 4/13-16; Yaroslavl 4/19-21; Moscow 4/23-24; Tbilisi 4/29-5/2

1972/June 28 – recorded sessions with Dexter Gordon that werer released as Tangerine and Ca Purange

1972/July 12-13 – recorded Mr. Jones with Elvin Jones

1972/September 1 [source: WP HR], began teaching at William Paterson College

1973/February 8-9 – records Portuguese Soul with Jimmy Smith; Thad wrote entire album; uses entire TJMLO, but not credited because Smith used B. Purdie instead of Mel

1973/April 17-18 Recorded Sassy Soul Strut with Lou Donaldson

1973/ September 13-14, July 29, 1974 – recorded Thad Jones Mel Lewis, Manuel De Sica and the Jazz Orchestra

1973/February 2, 4 [CD source says 1983] recorded with Teresa Brewer, wrote all arrangements, conducted Songs of Bessie Smith featuring Basie Orchestra, including Basie on piano

1974-1975 – Winner, Down Beat Critics’ Poll, Best Big Band

1974/March 12-13 – recorded Thad Jones Mel Lewis Orchestra, Live in Tokyo

1974/June – recorded Potpourri

1974/September 12 – performs faculty concert at William Paterson College; recorded live [in Archive].

1975/January 5 – performs second lecture demonstration and concert at William Paterson College

1975 – Winner Playboy All-Stars

1975/June 27-28 – recorded five cuts for Greetings and Salutations with Swedish Jazz Radio Group

1975/June 22, December 16-17 – recorded New Life

1975/November 14 Recorded You Made Me Love You in Tokyo w/G.Herbert, G. Mraz, Mel Lewis

1975-76 Academic Year: National Endowment for the Arts Jazz grant enables William Paterson College to become the nation’s first college to sponsor a professional jazz group in residence: Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Quintet presents sixteen concerts and lecture-demonstrations at WPC (ticket stubs for 5/16/76; Krivin flyer lists 9/24-25-26/75, 12/17-18, 21/75; 1/22/76; 1/28-29-30/76.  Press releases also list 2/10-11-12-13, 19/76).1976 – wrote arrangements of Cherokee for trumpeter Harry James, King James Version recording (also arrangement of Tuxedo Junction and alternate takes of More Splutie Please and on LP Comin’ From a Good Place (also 1976)

1976/March 11 – Bergen Record Dave Spengler interview with Thad published

1976/May 3, 4, 8, 12 – Carmen MacRae records Can’t Hide Love containing three arrangementst by Thad Jones

1976/June 2-3 – recorded Rhoda Scott in New York with TJMLO

1976/August 8 – recorded live Thad Jones Mel Lewis 1 [Poland]

1976/September 9 – recorded Live in Munich;  Domicile Club [Winner of 1978 Grammy Award; last major recording before Thad’s move to Denmark]

1977/January 28-29- recorded Thad Jones and Aura Rully, in Sweden, also final three cuts for Greetings and Salutations with Swedish Jazz Radio Group

1977/February 6 – recorded Lite Flight with Kenny Drew

1977/May 21 – awarded honorary doctorate by William Paterson College.

1977/August 20, 21, 23 – Finland, recorded Monica Zetterlund w/TJMLO

1977/September 24 – recorded Thad Jones Mel Lewis Quartet w/Harold Danko, Rufus Reid, Mel Lewis

1977/December 3-4 – recorded Thad Jones and Mel Lewis and UMO, Helsinki

1978/January 17-19, 25 – recorded Tribute to Monk and Bird, Heiner Stadler

1978/March 21-22 – recorded Thad Jones and Danish Radio Big Band, Live at Montmartre, Copenhagen aka By Jones, I Think We’ve Got It

1978/May23-25 – recorded Back Again, Bob Brookmeyer

1978 May [source: WP HR] stopped teaching at William Paterson University
Note: was on leave without pay for 78-79 academic year, per WP HR

1978 injured “by drunk who put fist through cab window”  – takes up valve trombone

1978/October 26 – recorded live Thad Jones Mel Lewis 2 [Poland]

1978/November – recorded TJMLO Touch of Class

1978 began living in Denmark, began working with the Danish Radio Orchestra

1979-80, lead Thad Jones Eclipse big band in Denmark

1979/September 17-18 – recorded Eclipse

1984/October 4 – recorded Three and One, Thad Jones Quartet with Ed Thigpen, Danish pianist and bassist

1984 – recorded Don’t Stop Now with Louie Bellson Orchestra

1985/February 10 – began leadership of the Count Basie Orchestra, invited by Willard Alexander

1985/October – Miami, recorded, wrote arrangements for Caterina Valente on Valente ’86

1985/November 11 – recorded Way Out Basie as conductor of Count Basie Orchestra

1985 – Manhattan Transfer records Vocalise with musical supervision on three tracks by Thad Jones w/Basie Orchestra

1986 European tour with Caterina Valente (see above recording)

1986, work on pieces commissioned by Swedish National Symphony [do these exist?], as well as new music for Danish Radio Orchestra

August 20, 1986 died in Copenhagen of prostate cancer; buried in Vestre Kirkegard (Westside Cemetery), Copenhagen.