Drummer Desi Jones

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Drummer Desi Jones

Feeling the rhythm with each tap, a musical son of Sonny Bradshaw, drummer Desi Jones speaks to his audience with each performance.

Although an expert drummer, Jones began his musical journey with a recorder at the Institute of Jamaica Junior Centre. It was at the centre that he first discovered drums - the conga drums - under the direction of his teachers Mackie Burnette and Mr. Lewis. His love for drumming came from watching other drummers while growing up.

"Locally, my mentors were Calvin McKenzie, Tony 'JJ' Smith and Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace. Like most drummers in Jamaica I was also influenced by Sly Dunbar, whom I consider to be the greatest rhythm innovator from Jamaica. While a member of the Salvation Army Kingston Central Corps I was taught the trombone by Bandmaster John Mills. While in the Salvation Army band the young people started a gospel/ pop/reggae band and I became the drumset player," Jones said.

However, his biggest break came when he joined forces with trumpeter Sonny Bradshaw. "At CARIFESTA 1976 in Jamaica I was introduced to Mr. Sonny Bradshaw by Dean Fraser. I was playing congas for the Eddie Thomas Dance Group at the festival and the drummer for the Sonny Bradshaw Seven met in an accident. Sonny took the chance and allowed me to play for the band that day. Later in the year I was offered the job and I took it," Jones said.

Musically, Jones' style runs the range of reggae, jazz, Latin and Jamaican traditional beats. It was this diversity that led him to playing with the Skool Band since 1988. Skool has provided backing for numerous artistes, one of the main ones being the legendary Jimmy Cliff with whom they have travelled the world. Jones says that he has toured all continents except for Antarctica, gaining inspiration along the way.

"I get inspiration from the knowledge that with just a simple beat I can make people dance. The drums can also make a person's mood change from joy to sadness," he said.

With that in mind, Jones strives to continue improving his technique day by day, since music is his passion, having never wanted to pursue another course. According to Jones if you have the passion and drive for music then go for it; strive for the best.

Contribution: Jamaica Gleaner

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 01:24  

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