31 January 1894, Coalton, Ohio, USA, d. 19 October 1956, Hollywood, Florida, USA. A multi-instrumentalist, Jones was leading his own band by his late teens. He played mostly in the Chicago area until the early 20s, when he moved to New York. After a brief visit to the UK in 1924, he returned to form a new band, which by the end of the decade he had developed into an outstanding dance orchestra. The band enjoyed enormous popularity with audiences. A 1930 recording of Hoagy Carmichaels Star Dust, arranged as a ballad, was a huge hit and changed perceptions of how this song might be performed. Arrangements were by Jones, together with Gordon Jenkins and Victor Young, and created a relaxed, melodic style unusual among bands of this type. Fine musicians who played in the band at one time or another included Jack Jenney and Pee Wee Erwin.
In 1936, with the swing era freshly launched and big bands fast becoming popular, Jones went...