Dr. William “Doc” Jones, who was a champion of jazz, education and homeless musicians, is a legend himself.
Dr. William “Doc” Jones played with Rhythm & Blues legends like The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and her favorites – “Pops” Staples and the Staples Singers. But this Chicago native is destined to be remembered as a legend, himself, for his efforts to help jazz and jazz musicians on and off the stage.
Jones moved to Arizona in 1986. Longtime Phoenicians probably remember Doc’s Place, a popular gathering place for jazz lovers, which was at Camelback Road and Central Ave for years. But over the years, long before the pandemic, live music clubs had begun to disappear, and more young people hoped to become the next Drake than the next Coltrane. Jones began to dedicate his life to trying to educate people, especially young people, and to preserve this uniquely American art form.
In 2012, Herbie Hancock created International Jazz Day in New Orleans and inspired, then encouraged Jones to do the same in Phoenix. Jones hosted the first International Jazz Day at CityScape in downtown Phoenix in 2013, which was attended by a few hundred people. In 2019, 10 current and former Arizona mayors issued proclamations and public service announcements for the annual event. Today, Hancock-inspired Jazz Day events are celebrated in 196 countries.
The pandemic has not only disrupted Jazz Day and entertainment throughout Phoenix, but the combination of no live performances and rising rents and house prices have thrown many musicians out of work and to homelessness.
“My mission,” Jones states, “is now to unite the state of Arizona by bringing attention to the arts, education, and affordable housing for jazz and blues musicians.”
Jones was inspired by the effort of ArtSpace.org, which is “America’s leading nonprofit real estate developer of living/working artist housing, artist studios, arts centers and of arts-friendly businesses”. Jones will similarly use the money raised through his events and the help of other community leaders to city of jazz.
Jones’ personal life and story seem as inspiring as his music. He has been married to his wife Shirley for 54 years. He has four children – Denine, Nailah, Brittany, Nayo and William, who live across the country, two of whom followed him into the entertainment industry. Few people know that Jones’ youth was devoted to dancing, but he enjoyed playing music more than dancing to it. Her son Bill, however, is a professional choreographer and dancer in Chicago. Meanwhile, Nayo (www.nayojones.com), a Spellman alum who lives in New Orleans, left a promising career in financial management to successfully record five albums.
In 2019, state law HCR 2017, a concurrent resolution declared April Jazz Appreciation Month and April 30 International Jazz Day in Arizona. On Friday, April 8, three mayors (Corey Woods of Tempe, David Ortega of Scottdale, and Jerry Bien-Willner of Paradise Valley), who formed the Jazz Day Coalition, will kick off the month at the Tempe Center for the Arts. On April 20, the State Capitol will be a site of music and celebration as Jones accepts proclamations from the various cities. On April 29, The Westin Kierland will host the premiere of Kierland After Dark – Scottsdale Jazz Festival.
Finally, on April 30, the 11 Scottsdale International Jazz Day (www.scottsdalejazzfest.org) will be at the Scottsdale Civic Center for the Arts from 3-10 p.m. Doc Jones brought together Arizona and Mexican cities (e.g. Sonora), private companies (e.g. Molina Jewelers), media (e.g. Arizona Informant) and non-profit organizations (e.g. schools in charter, the International Jazz Day AZ Foundation). for the benefit of jazz lovers and musicians of all ages.
Company Name: Denise Meridith Consultants Inc
Contact person: Dr. William Doc Jones
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Address:Scottsdale Civic Center Park 3939
City: N Drinking water
Country: United States