Willie Jones III Sextet featuring Renee NeuFville

Saturday, September 28, 5:00-6:00pm

Logan Center Performance Hall

Photo by Ernest Gregory

Photo by Ernest Gregory

One of jazz’s most sought-after drummers, WILLIE JONES III leads an all-star, straight-ahead ensemble to celebrate the music of the late, great Roy Hargrove. Jones, who for nearly ten years performed in Hargrove’s best-known quintets and the powerhouse RH Factor, honors the trumpeter whose groundbreaking work influenced musicians across genres. The sets, featuring alumni from Hargrove’s groups—Justin Robinson, Gerald Cannon, Renee Neufville, and Hargrove protege Giveton Gelin—will include RH Factor’s Crazy Race; sextet tunes including the up-tempo Public Eye; and Never Let Me Go, one of Hargrove’s favorite ballads.

By the time he was in his teens, Willie Jones III had begun performing with distinguished musicians. He was given a full scholarship to the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied under the tutelage of the legendary Albert “Tootie” Heath. Before he was a semifinalist in the 1992 Thelonious Monk Jazz Drum Competition, he co-founded the jazz band Black Note. Influenced by the rich, soulful energy of the West Coast bop movement, Black Note's hard-swing sound propelled them to first place in the prestigious John Coltrane Young Artist Competition in 1991. Jones contributed his skillfulness as both musician and producer on all four Black Note recordings. By 1994, the band had toured Europe and across the U.S. and was the opening act for Wynton Marsalis. Near the end of 1994, Jones began playing sideman to the renowned vibist Milt Jackson, where he learned the importance of pacing and sensitivity. Meanwhile, his musical career continued to unfold. From 1995 through 1998, he was a member of Arturo Sandoval's band, and subsequently recorded with Horace Silver. He can be heard on a host of recordings including Kurt Elling's GRAMMY® nominated Night Moves and Eric Reed's Here. He has worked with Sonny Rollins, Ernestine Anderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Wynton Marsalis, Cedar Walton, Frank Wess, the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Houston Person, Billy Childs, Eric Reed, Ryan Kisor, Eric Alexander, Bill Charlap, Michael Brecker, Herbie Hancock and Hank Jones. In 2000, he released his debut CD, Vol 1: Straight Swingin' on his own label, WJ3 Records. He continues to reveal his proficiency as a composer as well as a producer on Vol II: Don't Knock the Swing; Volume III: WE 2, a trombone and piano recording featuring Wycliffe Gordon and Eric Reed; and Jones' latest release The Next Phase.

The musicians:

Gerald Cannon (bass); Tadataka Unno (piano); Giveton Gelin (trumpet); Willie Jones III (drums); Renee Neufville (vocals); Justin Robinson (alto saxophone)