Guitar master / singer / songwriter Charlie Jones has been a
mainstay of the tri-state (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) club scene
since the 1970’s. He has appeared with many top jazz and R&B greats,
including: Bettye Lavette, Big John Patton, Illinois Jaquette, Jimmy
McGriff, Bernard Purdie, Jesse Morrison, Larry Young, and Lonnie
Youngblood. He’s performed in the Jimi Hendrix Alumni Band with Randy
California, Buddy Miles & Larry Coryell, accompanied singer Tiny Tim and
was a cast member on the Uncle Floyd Show, sitting in regularly for
guitarist Jimmy Vivino. Charlie has performed at the Joni Mitchell
Tribute Concert at Carnegie Hall with Bettye Lavette.
His sound is an eclectic mix of styles from rock, pop & blues, to funk,
jazz, psychedelic rock, rhythm & blues and soul. Don Hoch said of
Charlie Jones “Between rock and a jazz place, shuffles and funk…
racing though scales, love songs and jazunk…Mr. Jones is amazing, hard
to describe…musically exciting, real, very alive.”
I met the gifted New Jersey artist in the 90’s in NYC, at a recording
studio. We were instant friends. His sweet, funny nature, and his
musical knowledge were like no one I’d ever met before or since.
I first heard him play live at the Great Notch Inn, a ‘Roadhouse’ type biker bar on the New Jersey Turnpike, in Little Falls, NJ. The cash-only, black
t-shirt/black jeans wearing New Jersey venue had Charlie in regular
rotation there, as he had been for years. The raucous, friendly crowd kept it real. I sat in for a couple tunes, and the genre-busting Charlie was on fire. I have nothing but love for the NJ scene, and playing by the light of the beer cooler seemed like just the place to be on that Thursday night, but I can’t help but hope to see Charlie get some national exposure.
Here’s a link to his 2007 release Charlie Jones on Soundcloud.
I asked Charlie FIVE QUESTIONS, and true to form, he was nothing if not
1) Your self-titled album, released a few years ago did well at radio,
then no tour. Why?
CJ – I wouldn’t say it did well…got played a bit locally….no tour cause
of no agent/management…
2) What is on your plate right now creatively? Are you working on
CJ – Working intermittently on a new album…gotta finish it when the studio
3) Who are your favorite people to make music with?
CJ – Favorite people to make music with….my buddies…wouldn’t know where to
4) What inspires you to keep creating?
CJ – Creativity wont leave me alone…not much writing lately…just playing…
5) Who is your all time greatest influence?
b) Who do you like that is new on the musical scene today?
CJ – All time greatest influence..beatles/coltrane/sun ra / mahavisnu orch/
– too many
CJ – b) Nobody. I dont dig current music…..my competition is
largely non-musicians….could never politic with people…didnt wanna
play sessions or in show pits,etc….it becomes more and more clear to
me that as much as a musician that i may consider myself to be, it’s
really just a vehicle to influence in a positive way….but it doesnt
seem to work that often..when it does work,however, it really
works….workin in a vacuum…thats all there is, i think….