Leonard E. Jones..... bassist
After being discharged from the military in 1963, Leonard Jones returned to Chicago. He began studying the bass privately with Mr. Rudolph Fahsbender, bassist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. In 1964, through an introduction from the bassist Charles Clark, he met Muhal Richard Abrams. Mr. Abrams was the leader of the Experimental Band, a forum for musicians looking for an environment conducive to their own creative inclinations. He was invited to participate in the groups rehearsals and began, as well, theoretical studies with Mr. Abrams. The Experimental Band rehearsals were a vital learning experience for a young novice.
In May 1965, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) was founded and Jones became a member in June. During that same year he began an association with the bassist Wilbur Ware, which was rewarding musically, but more so on the human level. Mr. Ware was and exceptional person. Jones attended the Chicago Conservatory of Music for one year, still under the tutoring of Mr. Fahsbender. He also participated in David Beth´s bass school, bassist with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra. His activities until leaving Chicago centered around AACM functions and playing in more standard situations.
In June, 1969 Jones expatriated to Europe for five years, marrying, taking time out from music to study photography from 1970 to1972, at the Hochschule für bildende Kunst (art academy) in Hamburg, Germany. He performed with Henry Threadgill and Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith in 1971. Jones spent six months traveling through southern Europe and Morocco in 1972 before returning to Munich to join with I.W.L. Smith, performing as a duo in 1973 and ´74. In the summer of 1975 he returned with his family to Chicago.
As a member of the Muhal Richard Abrams group Leonard Jones moved to New York in August 1977 and remained there until returning to Europe in 1980. He lived in Munich, working with Lezek Zadlo, Frank St. Peter and the band New Trace. In the 1980´s and 1990´s he toured and performed festivals in Europe and Africa with the Sun Ra Arkestra, the Hank Crawford and David Newman Group, Dave Burell, with Lou Blackburn´s International Quartet and Mombasa, Mal Waldron and Sonny Simmons.
Besides experimental music and improvisation which had always been a part of Jones´ musical background, he has explored other musical areas, performing in Rhythm and Blues and Gospel formations with Gene "Mighty Flea" Conners and John C. Marshall, as well as, with the Orchestra of the Theater Oberhausen in a production of the Three Penny Opera. In 1998 Jones´ played for several months in Dubai (UAE) in the Quartet of Johnny Scott (Canadian saxophonist). Thereafter followed performances and CD productions with the clarinettist Lajos Dudas . He has also participated with the Experimental Band on festivals in Verona (It), Chicago and New York; in May 2003 Jones worked in a project with George Lewis in Munich.
Leonard Jones lives in Ratingen near Düsseldorf.
* see: Chicago Breakdown, Mike Rowe, Drake Publishers, Inc.; 1975