On the Record – Brian Jones


Principal timpanist Brian Jones (Dr. Eugene & Charlotte Bonelli Chair) describes the fickle nature of the timpani and reminisces about his time cross-training in different genres during his studies at the University of North Texas.

Brian Jones_Principal Timpani_Dr Eugene & Charlotte Bonelli Chair_Dallas Symphony

WEATHER REPORT:  “Rumba Mama” from Heavy Weather

“I had been shown as a freshman what some of the mystery was about with the Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian grooves.  It’s the stuff you hear on the radio but I had just gotten the sheets… the instrumentalists within these groups sometimes are composed of eight or nine players and the ‘Rumba Mama’ were two players.  Just real hot shot, top level players, in this super super hot band, Weather Report, in the mid to late 70’s.  One was from Puerto Rico, the other from Peru, and they are two guys sounding like eight or nine.  They were playing latin music which is often heard in dance halls, but they had cranked the tempo up to twice speed and in some cases four times as fast and they just made it fly! But they were able to control it, they were able to make it feel good without feeling panicky.  The music just takes you and you just float.”

HENRY MANCINI: “The Pink Panther Theme” from The Pink Panther – Original Soundtrack

“I had watched the cartoon but in this case, the TV was off… my parents’ clock radio alarm went off and I hear the ‘Pink Panther’ music and I was just drawn to it… I sat there and just listened to it. The tenor saxophone player, there’s so much style to what he’s doing.  He’s really swinging, he’s swinging his head off, and then when the band comes in, they’re doing the same thing.  Everybody is just so like minded… it just feels amazing, and it got me into the standards of first call session musicians.” 

BUDDY RICH:  “Time Check” from The Roar of ’74

“My uncle Mike and aunt Janine gave me this Buddy Rich recording and I put it on and again, there are just these moments that blow you away.  I just thought, ‘wait, if I get a drum set, I can maybe sort of play like that if I work hard enough.’ He became one of my heroes right then and there.” 

SIBELIUS:  Symphony No. 2

“There was maybe a quarter inch of ice on the road and everybody stayed home for a couple days, and I had a chance to study the Sibelius second symphony.  I had a repertoire book with the symphony in it and had a recording of the Philadelphia Orchestra with Eugene Ormandy… so I put it on and listened to the recording along with looking at the part.  Again, I can’t put into words how it just grabbed me.  Sibelius’s creativity, the breadth and depth to which he was able to express himself made me want to be an orchestra musician right then and there.”

Listen to other episodes of On The Record with Sarah Kienle: