Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Sad passing of Motown/Detroit drummer Uriel Jones

Yesterday was the funeral of the legendary Motown drummer Uriel Jones. This was such a shock, as he had complications earlier this year and was in hospital recovering well, or so it seemed. I was honoured to meet him on a number of occasions and indeed he performed on my Detroit session last year. I shall never forget him as one way or another he has been part of my musical quests since about 1970. When I was just 15 years old I realised something was happening in Detroit and wanted to know who the musicians were. Uriel was part of that dream and through Alan Slutskys book 'Standing in the Shadows of Motown' , I finally found out what his name was around 1992! In 2002 I travelled to Detroit with some colleagues and met him at Ann Arbour Library where he was performing with Joe Hunter, Marcus Belgrave, Fred Bryant, and Tonya Hood. I had the honour of cleaning his shoes for him as a fun gesture. In 2006 Philly producer, writer, musician Bobby Eli invited me to attend the 'Soulful Tale of two Cities' Detroit session, and again I met Uriel and all the musicians at the studio. Of course, my session in Detroit last year was a thrill to see him and the others tailor my songs in true Detroit style with the help of Dennis Coffey co producing and arrangments by David van de Pitte.

My condolances go to his family and friends who have lost a gifted and talented individual that has inspired so many. He will never be out my life, that's for sure. For the Detroit News coverage fo the funeral go here.


Amberleigh said...

First, I love the blog. Second, I never listened to motwon but as a drummer must say that is sad that the world has lost yet another drummer. Too few people follwo their own beat nowadays and dthat is what drummers are for.

jeff trudell said...

I had the honor of playing as two drummers with both Uriel Jones and Richard 'Pistol' allen, you see I was very fortunate to have Johnny Trudell, motown trumpeter as a dad. I started working with earl Van Dyke as a sub for 'uncle' Uriel at the fairlane club at the ripe age of 12. These men were huge inspirations in my development and I consider myself very fortunate. Before the movie was made there were a few gigs booked with some of the original funks and I was lucky to have split drum duties with both Pistol and Uriel. As both people and musicians they were topnotch meat and potatoes cats. On one gig Uriel was getting ready to go on the road and was having trouble with hand cramps, he said to me jokingly, Jeffrey, I need to borrow something for my upcoming tour and of course I said whatever you need cymbals, drums, sticks, Uriel what do you need? with a huge grin he said,Man, those young chops you got, that's what! it was a thrill to have done it with the real guys! I loved those guys and they loved me, how lucky.I would like to mention another drummer that played on the Marvin Gaye What's going on album his name was Chet Forest and believe me when I tell you he was one hell of a drummer. Thanks to you Carl for keeping the sound alive with the funks! Respectfully Jeff Trudell