When he left behind his hometown of Los Angeles in 1997 and moved to New York City, Willie Jones III knew it wouldn’t be easy to make his living as a jazz musician. Now, over ten years later, he has become one of the jazz capital’s best drummers.
The New York Times published an article on November 10, 2019 featuring Jones and exploring what a typical Sunday looks like for the busy jazz musician.
In addition to teaching students and playing as a sideman and bandleader, Jones makes sure spends plenty of time with his wife, Zooey Tidal Jones, a publicist. They are both night owls, but even after staying up late on Saturday evening the couple is on the subway before 7am the next day, ready for an early morning workout at Equinox in Manhattan.
While his wife takes a class, Jones will go straight to the basketball courts and play pickup games. Afterwards, the couple likes to stroll down the street for breakfast at the Smith (where Jones highly recommends the caramelized French toast with bananas).
Back home, the couple will listen to music and tidy up or watch television. “I like to have music on when I’m cleaning the house,” Jones said to The New York Times. Students will arrive between 2-4pm, and Jones gives drum lessons in his music room, which houses an assortment of books, CDs, and records. “Fortunately, none of the neighbors have complained about the noise,” Jones said.
After having dinner with Zooey and watching the nightly episode of “60 Minutes”, Jones will head into the city to check out the local music scene. His favorite jazz clubs are Smoke (uptown) and Smalls (in the Village). “If I’m not actually on the gig I like to sit in the back and just listen,” admitted Jones to The New York Times. Even after arriving home around 2am, the jazz drummer won’t always fall asleep right away. “I’ll get in bed and put my headphones on [and] listen to Nat King Cole or Johnny Hartman. I try to get to sleep by 3:30.”
Finding balance in life is difficult no matter your profession, and this holds especially true for musicians, whose lifestyle revolves around their work. Willie Jones III’s Sunday routine shows that, even with the hustle that comes with being a successful jazz musician, it’s the little things in life that make the hard work worth it.
For more Willie Jones III, pick up a copy of his latest albums with Night is Alive Productions:
To view the original New York Times article, visit https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/08/nyregion/willie-jones-iii-jazz-drummer-.html