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Drummer Randy Jones Dies at 72

Long-serving sideman in Dave Brubeck Quartet

Randy Jones was a member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet for over 30 years

Randy Jones, an adaptable, swinging drummer best known for his enduring work in the Dave Brubeck Quartet, died of heart failure on June 13 at New York City’s Calvary Hospital. He was 72.

Born in the U.K. and based in New York City for more than 40 years, Jones came to the U.S. in the early ’70s and racked up credits with an enviable list of jazz luminaries, among them Milt Jackson, Chet Baker, Bill Watrous, Gerry Mulligan and Harry James. He was asked to join Brubeck’s iconic band in 1978, and he remained there for over three decades.

With the Brubeck Quartet, Jones generated a considerable discography, on labels such as Concord Jazz, Telarc and MusicMasters. Among his album highlights is the Telarc release The 40th Anniversary Tour of the U.K., recorded in 1998. He toured globally with the band, appeared on TV and radio and took part in a number of projects that saw him work with organizations like Sony Classical, Disney and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Jones was born on Jan. 23, 1944, in Slough, Berkshire, England. According to drummerworld.com, he started playing for a show band while in his mid-teens, mostly performing rock and pop for TV and recording sessions. He was later offered a job with the Maynard Ferguson Big Band, then based in England. Jones stayed with Ferguson’s band for six years; while a member of the ensemble, he performed and/or recorded with vocalists Billy Eckstine, Tony Bennett and Cleo Laine.

Jones is survived by his son, Thad Jones; grandsons, Bryce and Peyton Jones; sister, Christine Wickham-Jones; and former wife and close friend, Laurie Beckelman.

Originally Published