Close Up on Papa Jo Jones

SKF NOTE: Drum pioneer Jonathan “Papa Jo” Jones playing his signature “Caravan” drum solo in 1978. This video is brand new to me. The web has a few excellent videos of Papa Jo drum solos. This 1957 “Caravan” drum solo is another.

But the 1978 performance with the Mary Lou Williams trio, new me, is maybe new to you too. I love 1978’s close-up camera work on Papa Jo’s hands, sticks, and his signature old drum set.

Making available these notable music videos is one way the internet really shines. Sometimes I wonder how access to these videos would have changed my drums and drumming research and writing earlier in my career.

Maybe not so much. Radio, albums, album liner notes, photos, magazines, books, personal interviews – these are all valuable sources for story writing. Videos do add a visual dimension. We see drummers we’ve only listened to and read about.

Most valuable to my research is the video of the drummer I’ve only heard about; maybe read about briefly, or about whom someone shared with me only a brief anecdote or memory.

Still, I think almost all musician videos made public on the web are a blessing. How good for the 1978 camera crew to have captured Papa Jo for all time, and how good of Pascal Savelon to post it for us to enjoy and study on YouTube.

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