In recent years with the jazz world being swamped by a plethora of young and oftentimes inexperienced lions scoring recording contracts, there had not been much opportunity for hard working vets like Jesse Jones Jr. to be heard. So when the Miami based saxophonist was approached by Bob Weinstock early in 1996 to sign with Contemporary Records for his debut, he was more than happy. "Jesse is, in my humble opinion, a very unusual jazz artist," says Weinstock, who served as the executive producer of Soul Serenade. Weinstock became aware of Jones from hearing him play at O'Hara's in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and at the Hollywood (Florida) Jazz Festival. "He's so soulful. The first time I heard him I instantly recognized how much this cat's music was deeply rooted in soul, blues, and jazz. He loves people, and he loves to perform. He's a multi-faceted performer, which is rare today. And when he sings and scats, that's just a big extra." Jones was born in Miami, Florida and traces his love for music back to his early elementary school days when he would her a neighbor playing albums by Cannonball Adderley. Jones went to Mississippi Valley State where he continued to excel in music and played at local jazz clubs. After college, he joined the US Navy Show Band and traveled throughout North and South America. Jones recalls. "Besides playing and doing vocals, I did comedy and tap dancing routines." After service, Jones move to Boston for a couple of years, then returned to Miami where he began to perform on the city's local jazz scene. It was then that Jones and his younger brother, Trumpeter Melton Mustafa, (who also made his recording debut on the Contemporary label earlier in 1996 with his big band CD Boiling Point) linked up to form the Melt-Jess Jazz Quintet. When Mustafa left to tour with the Count Basie band, Jones formed his own quartet, traveling and performing throughout the country and abroad. The three biggest influences on Jones's playing have been Cannonball Adderley, Hank Crawford and Paul Desmond. "Those guys music still keeps me moving and groovin". As for his singing and scatting forays on Soul Serenade, Jones says, "man, I love scatting". "Jon Hendricks, Cark Tarry, and Ells Fitzgerald were and are the major influences on my scatting." Jones has performed with Jazz Greats Donald Byrd, Blue Mitchell, Dexter Gordon, Joe Williams, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Clark Tarry Allen Harris and Ira Sullivan. Jesse's DC, Soul Serenade is a soul grooin' blues swingin' jazz party of originals by Jones and Mustafa. It has a sumptuous cover of the title tune and a sultry flute-led rendition of "Comin' Home Baby," (popularized by Herbie Mann). Jones is joined by an all-star band featuring Dr. Lonnie Smith on piano and Hammon B-3, Bassist Curtis Lundy, Miami drum wiz Danny Burger, and Mustafa, who also serves as the producer of the CD. Although Jones performs primarily within the United States, he's been performing through out Russia and Germany for the last 8 years. In addition, he is currently working on his second CD. So my friends, check it out! You can't be wrong all the time. Let Soul Serenade be your Papa Stopper.