Book Excerpt: Music Is My Mistress

Book: Music Is My Mistress
Author: Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington
Copyright: 1973
Publisher: Da Capo Press
ISBN: 0-306-80033-0
Page: 241

Jo Jones was the driving force behind our big success at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956, the man with a blueprint for a bouncing boiling bash, the man in the pit with the git-wit-it-git. Out of sight of the audience, in the pit in front of the grandstand, slapping a back beat with a newspaper, talking to us, he prodded us into a GO BABY! drive that developed into a rhythmic groove of the century, with Paul Gonsalves down front at the microphone.

I don't know what would have happened if Jo Jones had taken over at the drums, but what he did, when he did it, and where he was doing it, must have been the most fitting position for him when that night caught fire. If we had had Count Basie at the piano, and Freddie Green on the guitar...well, I don't know, maybe we might have scorched the moon.

Footnote: Jo Jones fought in the percussion section under the banner of the illustrious Count Basie Original Big Jazz Band. Jo, Freddie, and the Count (rhythm section) made that band swang its ass off.

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