Born February 20, 1958, New Orleans, Louisiana
Played with: Eddie â€œCleanheadâ€ Vinson, Della Reese, Young Tuxedo Brass Band, Dr. John, Danny Barker, Harry Connick, Jr.
Leroy Jones has been playing at the Hall for almost 20 years. Born and raised in New Orleans' 7th Ward, Leroy Jones taught himself to play the guitar at the age of eight. From those beginnings, Leroy might have grown up into a flat-out rock n'roller â€“ were it not for the fact that the band at his parochial elementary school, St. Leo The Great, was a wind ensemble. Under the tutelage of his first band director, Sister Mary Hillary â€“ who advised his parents to nurture their son's burgeoning talent â€“ Leroy switched to the trumpet.
As a child, Leroy was overheard practicing by his neighbor, the legendary New Orleans string man Danny Barker, who enlisted the young player to be one of the first musicians to cut his teeth in his Fairview Baptist Church Christian Marching Band. Leroy met the young Harry Connick, Jr., as a teenager, and the two began a musical collaboration that stretched over decades; Leroy is a veteran of multiple tours and recordings with Connick's band, appearing most recently on the 2007 love song to the Crescent City CHANSON DU VIEUX CARRE.
As his career evolves, Leroy has emerged as a sly and thoughtftul player who easily blends a mastery of tradition with his own signature touches. His unique approach to music is clarified by the influences he claims, which range from modern jazz mavericks like to traditionalists: Louis Armstrong, Clifford Brown, Jack Willis, Freddie Hubbard, Thomas Jefferson and others â€“ all artists who put their own stamp on the sound. "The reason why these are my favorite players and have been an influence on me is because each of them had there own musical voice and command of their respective instrument. When I heard them play or when I listened to a recording of any of them, I felt something that goes beyond explanation. Their music, their sound and spirit speaks to my spirit and to everything I love and appreciate about music, about jazz."
"I'm honored to be asked to join the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Many legends of New Orleans jazz have graced its carpet. Being a native of New Orleans and a jazz musician, I feel it is important and practically a duty to keep the flame of the music that made this city famous burning."
"I can remember as far back to when I was 4 years old and how intrigued I was by music in general, all types of music. My parents were not musicians, but they loved music and usually on the weekends there would always be something nice spinning on the turntable."
"I can't say that any one particular individual molded me into the player I am today. In reality it has been due to a combination of things, including the above, along with many hours of practicing, studying, listening to recordings, basically being dedicated to my craft and most important of all, loving it."
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