There was a time when I thought I hated Jazz. I hadn’t listened to anything worth a second listen and Dixieland really got up my nose (and still does). Once I was introduced to Vince Jones, all that changed.
Born in Glasgow, Vince and his family moved to Australia when he was 11 years old. He grew up in Wollongong, NSW, listening to his musician father’s collection of great jazz albums, and the feel, style and essence of the music became a natural part of Vince’s world.
Vince left Wollongong at 17 and worked as a labourer in Sydney and Melbourne.
Starting his jazz performance journey as a trumpet player, at 20, Vince began playing the club circuit in Melbourne.
At 21 he formed a band called Hot Sally, who played around for a couple of years but found the result financially unrewarding for a lot of hard work.
His first album Watch What Happens (1981), showcased his vocal and songwriting talent in tandem with stylish accompaniment. A loyal following developed and with each album and tour his Australian audience grew.
Though never a mainstream artist, Vince Jones was very popular – demonstrated through album sales figures and audience numbers. His second album, Spell, came out in 1983, followed by a new album each year until It All Ends Up In Tears in 1988.
Five more superb albums were produced from 1992 until 1999’s Live recorded at the Basement in Sydney.
Through the 1990s Vince Jones and his band found success on the European circuit making an impression on reviewers, audiences and promoters. They played to packed houses in Germany, London, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands including major festivals.
During the 1980s Vince Jones provided the soundtrack to one of the most romantic love affairs of my life. I told him so on one of the occasions I was able to meet and speak with him in the 1990s.
He leaned closer to me and in his unique beat-poet voice said quietly “Do you still love her?” I replied that I did. His response was a husky whisper: “Then find her, man, and tell her”. . .
The cat was so cool, if he needed ice in his drink he could just spit in his glass.