“Rodney Jones is a legend among musicians especially guitarists. He is worthy of the ears of any music listener.”
— George Benson
The Rodney Jones Trio
Rodney Jones is at the leading edge of modern jazz guitar, extending the rhythmic, linear, and harmonic possibilities of the instrument, while being firmly rooted in the tradition. The Manifesto of Change, the trio's latest CD, will be released fall 2018 with tour dates to follow. The Manifesto of Change reflects Rodney's personal journey in life and music. After suffering a potentially career ending hand injury and the loss of his 4 year old granddaughter, he revisited everything in his life. He found a story of love, and growth, a deepening of the music that he loved so much, and a renewed fire to play music from the heart with musicians who play at the highest levels from the heart. This was the genesis for The Rodney Jones Trio with Carl Allen and Lonnie Plaxico. Like Rodney, these master musicians wanted to bring out music that was fresh and alive, hopeful and uplifting, and that engaged the audience. They play jazz for people. Their music share the common stories that connect us all and reflects the human experience. With a blend of Blues, Standards, Original Tunes, and cutting edge mastery, the Rodney Jones Trio offers a compelling, exciting and fun performance for all audiences.
Rodney started playing the guitar at age 6. He has recorded two records for the Blue Note label, “The Undiscovered Few” and “Soul Manifesto”. He has toured worldwide, performed and recorded with a who’s who of music including Dizzy Gillespie, James Brown, Lena Horne, Quincy Jones, Christian McBride, Stevie Wonder, Elvin Jones, Kenny Burrell, Stan Getz, and countless others. He was the house guitarist for the Apollo Theatre for 9 years, and the staff guitarist for the Rosie O’Donnell Show for 6 years. He has written commercials and has more than 125 compositions recorded. He recently scored a documentary film for PBS about African American GIs in WW2. He served as Musical Director/Producer for Lena Horne, Ruth Brown, Gloria Lynne, Ernestine Anderson and others.. He has been a professor of Jazz Guitar Studies at The Juilliard School for 12 years and at The Manhattan School of Music for more than 20 years and has conducted clinics and workshops worldwide.
With over 200 recordings to his credit, the gifted Milwaukee-born, New York-based drummer, sideman, bandleader, entrepreneur, and educator, Carl Allen’s profound and propulsive percolations provided soulful and syncopated support for nearly three decades.
Allen joined trumpeter Freddie Hubbard a year before his graduation, served as his Musical Director for eight years, and recorded several recordings with the trumpeter including Double Take and Life Flight. Allen also played with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Jennifer Holliday, J.J. Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Lena Horne, Ruth Brown, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Mike Stern, Nellie McKay, Terence Blanchard, Phil Woods, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Joe Henderson, Billy Childs and many others.
“Carl Allen is an international powerhouse. His sound and feeings have fuled the bands of Freddie Hubbard, Christian McBride and countless others as well leading his own projects. “
– Joe Lovano
Education has always been part of my mission Allen says. Art Blakey taught me the importance of nurturing the next generation of musicians. “Every generation needs someone to help them get to the next level and this what I am hoping to do”. In May of 2012 Allen received an honorary doctorate from Snow College in Ephraim, Utah in Humane Letters.
Allen maintains an exhaustive schedule of recording, touring and teaching. He remains active as a sideman with The Rodney Jones Trio, Christian McBride and Inside Straight, Benny Golson and others.
In 1980 Plaxico moved to New York and soon began to appear with such artists as Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon and Wynton Marsalis. His first extended tenure was with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers: between1983 and 1986, lonnie performed on twelve of Blakey's albums, including the Grammy Award-winning, New York Scene. In 1986 he joined Jack DeJohnette's Special Edition, continuing with that group until 1993. Presently, Plaxico is the musical director and featured bassist for Cassandra Wilson; their critically acclaimed and award-winning collaboration has now spanned fifteen years.
Plaxico's recording and performance catalog is equally impressive for its caliber, depth and diversity. He has appeared with such luminaries as Sonny Sitt, Junior Cook, David Murray, Alice Coltrane, Stanley Turrentine, Joe Sample, Abbey Lincoln, and Dizzy Gillespie. Just as noteworthy are his performances with younger artists -- among them Steve Coleman, Rachelle Farrell and Dianne Reeves. lonnie has also recorded with Bill Cosby, Lonnie Liston Smith, Ravi Coltrane and Barbara Dennerlein, as well as his Grammy-winning collaborations with Art Blakey and Cassandra Wilson.
Lonnie Plaxico's musicianship is probably best expressed in his masterful integration of different forms --combining the rigorous technique of classical, the improvisation of jazz, and the rawness of funk into one exhilarating musical experience.