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Jones, Philip (12th March 1928-17th January 2000)

He was an ensemble leader and trumpeter born in Bath, England to a trumpeting family.  When he was 16 years old he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Royal College of Music and after graduating he began his career as a professional trumpeter.

In 1951 he was the Principal Trumpet for the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in 1956 he became Principal Trumpet for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and after four years accepted the same position with the Philharmonia.  For the year running from 1964 to 1965 he was with the London Philharmonic, the next two years were spent with the New Philharmonia and 1967 to 1971 was spent with the BBC Symphony.

In 1951 he had decided to get four musicians together from the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House as a brass ensemble and they became known as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.  Growing to a larger group of musicians, sometimes as large a ten-piece ensemble, they quickly became highly acclaimed within London and the surrounding area.

In the 1960s The Beatles employed several musicians who had appeared with his ensemble to perform on their albums Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  Philip Jones himself was the trumpeter you hear when you listen to “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”.

He left the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1971 to concentrate all his efforts into the ensemble and formed a group of musicians that were very committed to it and together they toured intensely, visiting over 30 different countries, gave 87 world premieres and made 50 recordings that had a range of hundreds of years of music from Renaissance to 20th Century contemporary.

Some of his albums include Eine Kleine Brass Musik, The 20th Century Album, Festive BrassWeekend Brass: Trumpet Voluntary, Masters of the Trumpet, Lollipops and Greatest Hits with the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the US version of Magical Mystery Tour.

He finally went into retirement in 1986 when he accidentally ran over his trumpet with his car and took it as a sign it was time to slow down.

As a teacher he was a Principal at the Trinity College of Music and Royal Northern College of Music which he carried on doing for a further eight years after his retirement from the ensembles concert recordings until 1994 after which, in 1995, he became Chairman of the Musicians Benevolent Fund.

Receiving several awards and honours he was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 1977 and a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1986.

He died in 2000 when he was 71 years old leaving a huge legacy to the world of brass music.

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble recordings
The Agincourt Song (Anonymous)
Decca B0000807 (2003, CD: Music from the Royal Court)

Here he is with the Philp Jones Brass Ensemble in Japan…