Best Local Jazz Artist - 2001
Jesse Jones, Jr.
Jazz critics like to carve up their chosen terrain into two diametrically opposed camps: musicians who play straight-ahead, and those who play "free." Miami saxophonist Jesse Jones, Jr., chooses to fudge this divide, and it's precisely that versatility that makes him such a delight to hear. Witness his occasional ensemble gigs at the Van Dyke Café. The band may start out on a faithful Cannonball Adderly-styled tip, casually working its way through some pleasant finger-snapping material. But just when you've eased back in your chair and gotten comfy, Jones will blow a playfully outré lick, simultaneously raising an eyebrow at the audience while slipping in a series of discordant honks to summon the group to take it up a notch. We're about to go somewhere special, Jones seems to be saying to the room, and you're all invited to come along.