Rusty Jones, American jazz drummer, Died at 73


Isham Russell Jones II was born on April 13, 1942, and died on December 9, 2015.

Better known as Rusty Jones, he was an American jazz drummer who was Chicago-based.

Isham father was a saxophonist and his mother a vocalist (appearing under the name of Gretchen Lee) with most of their gigs being in and around the Chicago area.

His mother was working at the Bismark Hotel in 1936 when the two were wed.

Other musicians in Isham Jones’ family were his grandfather, a trombonist/bandleader named Frank Jones, who worked with the Saginaw and Detroit area and Jones’ mother’s brother, Dean Herrick, an early artist on the Hammond organ.

The most famous of these family musicians was Isham’ great uncle, Isham Jones, who became a renowned American bandleader/songwriter beginning with the 1920s and ending in 1936 when he initially retired.

Isham wrote popular songs of the era such as, “It Had To Be You (song)”, “I’ll See You In My Dreams”, “The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else”, “Swingin’ Down The Lane”, “On The Alamo”, “There Is No Greater Love”, “We’re In The Army Now” and several others.

Isham began playing drums at the age of thirteen and continued on throughout his college years, choosing traditional and modern jazz as his preferred mode of music.

He went “on the road” after graduating college in 1965 from the University of Iowa with a degree in history and political science, to “get it out of his system”, but he never stopped his pursuit of a musical vocation.

He moved to the Chicago area in 1967.

Isham appeared with Chicago musician Judy Roberts from 1968 to 1972, soon after becoming a member of George Shearing’s trio from 1972 to 1978.

Later years he accompanied pianist Marian McPartland for a few years and then freelanced throughout Chicago with several bands, touring the United States and Europe.

Isham has worked quite a bit with Adam Makowicz, Larry Novak, Danny Long, Patricia Barber, Johnny Gabor, Jim Beebe, Charlie Hooks, Frank D’Rone, Art Hodes, Mark Pompe, Frank Portolese, Ron Surace, Ira Sullivan, J.R. Monterose, St├ęphane Grappelli and Curt Warren.

Rusty Jones passed away at age 73 in December 2015.