Melvin Jones, a native of Memphis, Tenn., began his own personal journey as a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He made an appearance on TLC’s triple platinum hit album Fanmail, and he was a founding member of the popular Latin jazz ensemble called Rio Negro. Highly successful, this distinctive group performed nationally to wide acclaim while recording three group albums. Jones then pursued graduate music study at the Mason Gross School of the Arts where he studied under the world-renowned trumpeter and educator, the late William “Prof” Fielder. “Prof ’s” illustrious student roster includes greats like: Wynton Marsalis, Terence Blanchard, David Sanchez, Kenny Garrett, and classmate Sean Jones. After graduation, Jones continued a multi-faceted career, performing extensively throughout the United States and abroad while also teaching and lecturing at various universities and schools. Many jazz industry giants have graced the stage with Jones throughout his career, and he relishes these artistic collaborations. He has played and partnered with: Don Braden, Clark Terry, Victor Goines, Carmen Lundy, Terence Blanchard, Antonio Hart, and Freddy Cole. Jones is especially proud to have been a member of Illinois Jacquet’s last band, which captured his final recording at the Lincoln Center. Jones has recently finished an eight-month-long national tour with Tyler Perry’s production entitled “Madea’s Big Happy Family,” an association which began with his appearance in Perry’s film “I Can Do Bad All By Myself.” Other Jones performance credits include being co-founder for the esteemed pre-ensemble horn section named “Solid State,” which has recorded with The Anointed Pace Sisters, The Pussycat Dolls, Fergie, Nicole Scherzinger, Missy Elliott, Keri Hilson, and most recently the “Original Dreamgirl” herself, Jennifer Holiday.
While Jones’ performing career is remarkable, his academic accomplishments are equally impressive. For six years, he served as the Director of Bands and Instrumental Studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he had the opportunity to direct the world-renowned Morehouse College Jazz Ensemble and Marching Band. Dubbed the “House of Funk,” the marching band has received wide acclaim playing for both local and international events, including a Super Bowl and multiple nationally televised appearances. Jones recently finished recording his debut album entitled Pivot on Turnaround Records. The album, released last year, is a highly unique and personal achievement. Pivot is Jones’ first recording as a bandleader, and nearly all of its compositions are original and self-written. Says Jones, “The concept of Pivot is a reflection of multidirectional experiences and also the artists’ ability to perform diverse styles at one time.” Says Jones, “I am thrilled to have brought together for this album some of my favorite musicians who represent such a broad spectrum of creative talent.”