Darryl Jones was born on the south side of Chicago into a musical family. His father, a drummer, taught him drums and xylophone. When Jones saw a neighbor playing bass in a school talent show, he switched to bass. He immediately began studying, and within a year played his first gig, along with his brother on guitar, at their elementary school. After completing the challenging music program at Chicago Vocational High School at 17, and with the support of caring parents who instilled a strong work ethic, Jones gained entry to the Chicago music scene playing alongside Vincent Wilburn, Jr., Matthew Rose, and Perry Wilson. He attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
He played gigs around Chicago with the likes of Ghallib Ghallab, Otis Clay, Ken Chaney, and Phil Upchurch. At 21, with the help of his longtime friend Vincent Wilburn Jr., the nephew of Miles Davis, Jones landed a life-changing gig with the legendary jazz icon, with whom he would play over the next five years. He can be heard on Decoy (1984) and You're Under Arrest (1985), and several live concert albums.
In 1985, he became a member of Sting's first solo band with Branford Marsalis, Kenny Kirkland, and Omar Hakim. With Sting he recorded the album Dream of the Blue Turtles, the live album Bring on the Night, and appeared in the documentary of the same name about the band's formation and tour.
Jones toured and recorded sessions with Herbie Hancock & the Headhunters, Madonna, Eric Clapton, and more. During this time Jones also made his mark on the New York electric jazz scene where he played and recorded alongside John Scofield, Hiram Bullock, the Gil Evans Big Band, and Steps Ahead. Jones also played in Peter Gabriel's band during the 1988 Human Rights Now! Tour performances.
His projects as a co-leader include Stone Raiders with Jean-Paul Bourelly and Will Calhoun, 3 Brave Souls with John Beasley (musician) and the late Leon "Ndugu" Chancler, and Chi Town Social Club with Nicholas Tremulis, Vincent Wilburn Jr., and Shawn Christopher. He also performs with the Miles Electric Band, to revisit and renew the musical innovation of the legendary Miles Davis.
He founded Jones Musical Instruments in 2014 to produce high-quality basses and guitars, combining artisan craftsmanship and modern technologies, for seasoned professionals and dedicated enthusiasts.
Over the years, between his rigorous touring and recording schedule, Jones has been exploring his own expression as composer, lyricist, singer, and band leader. With a broad sphere of influence, The Darryl Jones Project debuted in 2017, revealing a lifelong love of music, eschewing convention and defying genre labels with its distinctive soulful roots rock vibe. His live shows feature original songs with a fresh distinctive groove and deep covers. His music tells stories from growing up on the south side of Chicago and has influences from James Brown to Curtis Mayfield to the Beatles, as well as the legendary musicians with whom he has shared the stage.
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