The legendary jazz trumpeter Leroy Jones is known to music lovers as the “keeper of the flame” for traditional New Orleans jazz and to critics as one of the top musicians ever produced by the Crescent City.
“The mission of the Leroy Jones Quintet is to expose audiences everywhere to the authentic music of New Orleans, the music of Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, Danny Barker and all the other greats who have helped create the rich gumbo that is the sound of New Orleans,” he says, “while putting our own more modern stamp on it.”
Jones himself, a native of New Orleans, whose playing has been described as a blend of Louis Armstrong and bebop virtuoso Clifford Brown, has been a critical figure in the history of New Orleans music.
A member of the New Orleans Jazz Hall of Fame, he was leader at the tender age of 12, of the seminal Fairview Band, a brass band whose alumni have included some of the best known musicians in New Orleans. It was the Fairview Brass Band which is widely credited with restoring interest in the brass band tradition of New Orleans. Today, in fact, New Orleans has more brass bands performing than at any time in the city’s history – an achievement that can be traced back directly to the Fairview Band and its successor the Leroy Jones Hurricane Brass Brand.
A regular at Preservation Hall in New Orleans and a featured performer in the Harry Connick Orchestra, where his playing and singing have made him a crowd favorite, Leroy has performed on every continent and in every major U.S. city at prestigious theaters, festivals and jazz clubs like the Village Vanguard in New York City. His television appearances include The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Late Night with David Letterman, The Today Show, Arsenio Hall, Conan O’Brien and Oprah Winfrey. He is also a regular at the world famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, as well as French Quarter Fest and the Satchmo Summerfest.
“It was really early in the day and Leroy Jones was playing trumpet. I don’t know what he was playing but it was achingly beautiful; I literally felt my body responding. It was so soft and melodic and catchy and just right and my eyes welled with tears and I was pretty sure if I died right then and there, it would have been a life worth living.” – Chris Rose, Times-Picayune
“…Leroy Jones, a supurb trumpeter who tossed off traditional New Orleans Jazz lines and modernist runs.” – Jon Pareles, New York Times
“…his improvising, either in a New Orleans mold or in the Fats Navarro style, had its own grace and humor.” – Peter Watrous, New York Times
“The big hat goes off to trumpeter and singer Leroy Jones, whose clean, flowing set managed to get the audience clapping along… Leroy Jones avoids the defensive attitude present in much of today’s retro jazz and makes listening to the music something it frankly often is not: fun.” – Boston Globe
“…from the moment he stepped onstage, Jones himself was the real crowd-pleaser. Like Louis Armstrong, his principal role model, he can make entertainment of art and art of entertainment with seemingly no effort.” – Washington Post
“His playing was as memorable as his appearance. It swung from the traditional, fiery New Orleans lead trumpet to fluent late bebop… without the slightest sense of strain or incongruity.” – The Observer (London)
“Leroy Jones expresses himself in the very classical style of New Orleans… density, clarity, fine paused notes…” – La Samaine Des Spectacles Cannes (France)
“We’re not going to hide anything: We loved it. It’s soul; it’s warm; it’s all jazz.” – Nord Éclair (France)
“Jones eventually evolved from a brash street player into one of the Crescent City’s most articulate trumpeters, as his three fine releases in the ’90s — Mo’ Cream From The Crop, Props For Pops (Columbia) and City Of Sounds (Louisiana Red Hot), demonstrate. His jovial, swinging attack — complemented by deft mute technique and infectious, gospel-flavored vocals — evokes Armstrong, but also reflects a broad historical spectrum…” – Jonathan Tabak, Down Beat
“Louis Armstrong is alive and well in [this] trumpeter…. [He] plays a clean, take-your-time, declaritive lead throughout…. The rhythm section is infectious… uncluttered, uplifting and respectful of tradition.” – Jazz Times
“Leroy Jones’ City of Sounds features the veteran trumpeter at his best, a pure tone at turns delicate and tough, with lyrical flights that leave the melodies floating through one’s thoughts after the CD is back in its case.” – Jason Berry, New Orleans Magazine
“…both his vocals and trumpet parts are imbued with an accessable, generous helping of upbeat pleasure. And that sort of showmanship is an essential element of Armstrong’s legacy that too many of his musical grandchildren overlook.” – Washington Post
Visit Leroy Jones’ website here.