Best known as a reliable and swinging sideman, bassist Sam Jones (1924-1981) also led occasional record dates that always seemed to be well planned and memorable.
Jones started his career working with Tiny Bradshaw’s r&b band in Cincinnati during 1953-1955 before moving to New York. He caught on fast in the jazz world, having stints with Kenny Dorham, Illinois Jacquet, Cannonball Adderley’s early group, the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, and Thelonious Monk. As a member of Adderley’s very successful quintet/sextet of 1959-1965, Jones was on many historic recordings, he wrote "Unit 7” and "Del Sasser,” and also had the opportunity to freelance as a sideman on a countless number of dates.
During 1960-1962, Jones led three albums for the Riverside label, alternating between bass and jazz cello. The Soul Society has such sidemen as either cornetist Nat Addreley or trumpeter Blue Mitchell plus tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath. The arrangements add to the appeal of this set of originals (including "Deep Blue Cello”) and lesser-known standards. The Chant, by Sam Jones Plus 10, has the same musicians plus altoist Cannonball Adderley, pianist Wynton Kelly, and many associates from Cannonball’s musical world. Down Home features Jones with groups ranging from quintets to a tentet, highlighted by a definitive version of "Unit 7.”
After leaving Adderley, Sam Jones was Ray Brown’s replacement with the Oscar Peterson Trio during 1966-1970, co-led a big band with Tom Harrell, and freelanced up until the time of his death in 1981. Along the way, his walking bass was an asset to the recordings of Chet Baker, Bill Evans, Wes Montgomery, Milt Jackson, Barry Harris, Bobby Timmons, Sonny Stitt, and many others, always contributing just the right note and groove.