The Troy Street Observer

April 28, 1952: The Jones Brothers of Boston

Photo of Jones Brothers
The Jones Brothers in the 1950s. From left: Max, Clyde, and Herb

On April 28, 1952, the Jones Brothers celebrated 15 years in show business at the Fensgate Hotel.

Hear “jazz” and “Jones Brothers” in the same sentence, and most people think of Hank, Thad, and Elvin from Detroit. But the the Jones Brothers partying at the Fensgate were actually Bostonians—Herb, Clyde, and Max. Like the more famous trio from the Motor City, these three could play piano, trumpet, and drums, but there the similarity ends. Unlike the younger Joneses of Detroit, the Bostonians   were based firmly in swing, and singing was a key part of their act. They were a vocal harmony trio playing their own accompaniment.

Max and Clyde were singing together as early as 1933, and Herb joined them in 1937 to mark the official beginning of the Jones Brothers. They were a hit almost immediately, and by 1939 were opening for the Duke Ellington Orchestra at the Ritz in Boston, then at the Panther Room in Chicago’s Hotel Sherman. They also opened for other big bands, including those of Harry James and Jack Teagarden. Don Redman wrote some of their arrangements.

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