In a career spanning six decades, Jones has toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, B.B. King, and Ray Charles. He has also played with major symphony orchestras, including those in Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vienna.
He attended the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago on a scholarship, then took work where he could find it, including theaters and night clubs. In 1967, while house drummer at the Chicago Playboy Club, he was invited to New York for what was intended to be a two-week engagement with Count Basie‘s orchestra but which lasted five years. Jones played on fifteen albums with Basie. He also appears in a scene featuring the Basie band in the movie Blazing Saddles