Harold Jones was classically trained at the American Conservatory in Chicago. His playing on Eddie Harris' version of "Exodus" helped make that single a bestseller. But Jones really blossomed with Count Basie.
Basie had been through quite a few drummers since Sonny Payne left in 1965, but when Jones joined up in 1967, he proved to be just the drummer Basie was looking for. Jones remained until 1972, and through the course of his tenure with The Count, helped spark and revitalize that organization via now-legendary recordings of Sammy Nestico arrangements.
Harold Jones is the quintessential big-band drummer with a crisp, clean sound notable for the high-pitched snare drum crack. He wastes no element of motion, has near-perfect time, sets up figures beautifully, is a driving accompanist, and plays wonderful fills only when necessary. It's no surprise that Jones later became the drummer of choice of famed singers Sarah Vaughan and later, Natalie Cole.
-Written by Dr. Bruce Klauber