jazz singer, author, composer, journalist, impresario
NEW DONALD FAGEN BIOGRAPHY OUT IN SEPTEMBER
NIGHTFLY IS A MUST-READ FOR EVERY STEELY DAN FAN. Peter Jones
covers all aspects of Donald Fagen’s career, both with Steely Dan and as a solo artist. I am amazed as to the level of detail in the descriptions of the recording sessions and the analyses of the lyrics of the songs. Jay Graydon, guitarist on Steely Dan’s Aja.
PETER JONES HAS DONE AN IMPECCABLE JOB ILLUMINATING ONE OF MUSIC’S MOST MERCURIAL AND MYSTERIOUS FIGURES. Exhaustive research, rich storytelling, and keen observations make this a must-read, not just for Fagen fans and Steely Dan devotees but any music fans that relish compelling inside stories from the vinyl era. A comprehensive, critical biography that will also help you listen to classic albums like Pretzel Logic, Katy Lied, Aja, and others with fresh new ears. Chris Epting, author of James Dean Died Here.
Peter Jones is a well-established music biographer and singer/composer based in London. His next book Nightfly: the Life of Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen will be published on 13th September 2022 by Chicago Review Press.
His previous books include This is Hip and This is Bop – biographies of jazz singers Mark Murphy and Jon Hendricks respectively. Peter also writes regularly for Jazzwise magazine and the influential website All About Jazz.
As a singer, he has recorded and performed with some of the top names in British jazz, including Sophie Alloway, Roger Beaujolais, Andrew Cleyndert, Duncan Eagles, Graeme Flowers, Leon Greening, Andy Hamill, Alex Hutton, Anthony Kerr, Mornington Lockett, Henry Lowther, Misha Mullov-Abbado, Nigel Price, Ross Stanley and Vasilis Xenopoulos, and he has performed with both the Remix Jazz Orchestra and the Somethin’ Else Big Band.
His albums under his own name and with the band Zoöphyte have received excellent reviews. Tracks from Zoöphyte’s debut album Signs of Life, co-written with Trevor Lever, have been played on Jazz London Radio, Jazz FM, Worldwide FM, Solar Radio and several other stations in the UK and overseas. In January 2021 Zoöphyte released a new EP Out of the Cave. Peter will be recording a new album of original tunes with the band in October 2022.
In September 2021, in partnership with Clement Regert, Peter launched a new London jazz venue, Off the Rails, in Richmond. In the same month the duo also programmed the jazz stage at Twickenham’s High Tide Festival.
This is Bop
This is Bop, Peter’s award-winning biography of the American jazz singer Jon Hendricks was published by Equinox in November 2020, in time for the centenary of Jon’s birth. The book is a companion to This is Hip, his acclaimed, award-winning biography of Mark Murphy, which appeared in March 2018 (see reviews).
Reviews of This is Bop
Peter Jones does a superior job of covering Hendricks’ long life…and adventures… a definitive portrait of one of jazz’s great characters… highly recommended. Scott Yanov, Los Angeles Jazz Scene
Combining a history of bop singing with a vivid portrayal of the gospel of the griot Saint Jon and a study of language itself, Jones gets to the point and lingers there with love, laughter, and impactful details based on deep research and thoughtful hypothesis. A.D. Amorosi, Jazz Times
This excellent biography. Brian Priestley, Jazzwise
Thoroughly researched on both sides of the Atlantic and featuring interviews with many of Hendrick’s close family and colleagues, This Is Bop is an insightful and entertaining portrait of a flawed though much-loved jazz great. Ian Patterson, All About Jazz
Jones displays skillful, observant musical commentary likely to satisfy sophisticated jazz fans… this book is a must-read. Jeff Kaliss, San Francisco Classical Voice
I can think of few people better qualified than Peter Jones to write this well-researched biography of the legendary Jon Hendricks. The research via magazine articles, interviews with Hendricks’ family, friends and fellow musicians, with sources all indexed, has set a bar so high that it would be nigh impossible for any future biographers to surpass or even to come close. Lance Liddle, Bebop Spoken Here
Admirably clear-sighted… a fascinating survey of a career spanning the golden age of jazz, but also an intriguing study of a complex, many-layered character. Chris Parker, London Jazz News
This is more than an enjoyable book; it is an essential book… What [it] achieves is to bring out all the contradictions and yet convey the humour, joy, the hustling, the vivacity, the hip literacy and the love of family. Jack Kenny, Jazz Views
This evocative work conveys the challenges and successes Hendricks experienced and makes for an affecting, well-rounded portrait of an underappreciated jazz artist who is ripe for rediscovery. Barry Zaslow, Library Journal
This book, like his previous one about Murphy, can be read in one go because Jones is a born storyteller and knows how to describe the decisive moments marvellously. Sjef van Moerdijk, Dr Jazz (Netherlands)
Wow. Not often does a biography leave me so fulfilled and satisfied as the newly-released This is Bop: Jon Hendricks and the Art of Vocal Jazz. Tom Henry, The Blade, Toledo
Peter Jones has done a superb job of relating the life of Hendricks, examining along the way his catalog of talents, personal characteristics and conflicts in an engaging, entertaining and highly readable manner. Joe Lang, Jersey Jazz
Peter Jones … has snatched Hendricks from oblivion… He has created a dense, informative and entertaining portrait… [which] should be compulsory reading for all those concerned with jazz singing. Detlef A. Ott, Just for Swing (Germany)
Not a dry eye when reading this — Jon’s personality truly jumps right out of these pages. And though I was fortunate enough to have known Jon a little bit through my upbringing, this book introduces me to the Jon I hadn’t had the chance to know. I am grateful that he can now be introduced in this way to everyone else who reads this book! Wonderful work. Veronica Swift, jazz singer
The paradox of death-defying difficulty masked as simplicity was the street Jon Hendricks lived on… The story [is] recounted so eloquently by Peter Jones. Kirk Whalum, saxophonist
Order your copy of This is Bop using the promo code EQX for a 25% discount.
Zoöphyte showcases Peter’s songwriting in partnership with Trevor Lever. The project combines elements of pop, jazz, rock, soul and psychedelia, and features the cream of UK jazz musicians. Following the critically-acclaimed 2020 album Signs of Life comes a new EP Out of the Cave (2021). Contributors this time include Tom Berge (keyboards), Graeme Flowers (trumpet), Vasilis Xenopoulos, Gunnar Mossblad and Bill Yeomans (tenor saxophone), Mark Aston (tenor and baritone saxophones), Andrew Cleyndert (bass), Sophie Alloway and Mark Whitlam (drums).
What they said about Signs of Life:
“It takes only one listen to Signs of Life… to understand the name of singer Peter Jones’s project, for exotic it undoubtedly is, with roots gloriously entangled in the soils of jazz, pop and psychedelic music… Sophie Alloway’s brushes, and bassist Andrew Cleyndert’s slow groove, instill laid-back swing on “Füsun,” a delightful, blues- tinged number with handsome solos from [Rob] Luft and pianist Ross Stanley. Jones’ delivery on this bitter-sweet tale of love lost, and on the shimmering, Hammond organ-driven swinger “House on the Corner,” position the singer in a lineage somewhere between Frank Sinatra and Kurt Elling.” Ian Patterson, All About Jazz
“What Peter Jones has achieved here is a valid and worthy 21st century British riposte to the greatest American jazz rock outfit of the 20th. He’s also picked up the Steely Dan trick of writing enigmatic, tip-of-the iceberg lyrics instead of, say, rote heart-on-the-sleeve relationship songs. With the result that this album is endlessly listenable, allowing the gorgeous musicianship to grow on listeners — and it deserves many.” Andrew Cartmel, London Jazz News
“Listening to “Signs of Life”, I realised that a way had been found to clothe ambitious music in beautiful and tempting robes – even to the least sensitive eye – and thus satisfy a wide audience: so there is a surface beauty that anyone can appreciate, but there are also deeper waters, and in them, a journey through fairy-tale lands.” Marta Ratajczak, Babskim Uchem (Poland)
“Smoothly trowelled pop-jazz… cosmic grooviness…” Andy Robson, Jazzwise
“This [album] works so beautifully… As a vocalist, Jones brings to mind such greats past and present as Mark Murphy (natch!); Jon Hendricks; Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter. At the risk of facing accusations of being sycophantic, Jones is at a point in his career where he can hold his head up high even in such exalted company.” Lance Liddle, Bebop Spoken Here
‘What a fine singer Peter Jones proved to be, with a first class backing group… Yet another evening of top quality jazz, to be savoured and remembered.’ Chichester Jazz Club (Oct 2019)