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JOHN PAUL JONES

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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John Paul Jones biography
Born in 1946 in Sidcup, in south-eastern London, John Baldwin took the stage name of JOHN PAUL JONES after the 1959 movie about the eponymous hero of the American Revolution (also known as the 'father of the American Navy'). He is best known as the bassist and keyboardist for LED ZEPPELIN, as well as for his successful solo career as a musician and producer. JONES also plays a number of other instruments, such as guitar, koto, lap steel guitars, autoharp, mandolin, ukulele, sitar, and cello.

JOHN PAUL JONES' musical education started very early, when, at the age of 6, he started playing piano, taught by his father Joe. Both of his parents were in the music business, and the family often performed together when touring England. He studied music formally at Christ's College in Blackheath, London, and at the age of 14 became organist and choirmaster at a local church. In the same year he also bought his first bass guitar, a Fender Jazz Bass; one year later he joined his first band, The Deltas. After that, JONES' musical career took quickly off. From 1962 to 1968 he worked incessantly as a sessionman, and was very much in demand both as a player and an arranger. During those years, he met Jimmy Page, a fellow session veteran, who in 1968 invited him to collaborate with his new band, originally called The New Yardbirds, later to become LED ZEPPELIN.

JONES' contribution to the LED ZEPPELIN sound has been all too often overlooked in favour of the other, more flamboyant members of the band. However, his experience and musicianship were crucial elements for their worldwide success; in particular, his skills as a keyboardist added a new dimension to the heaviness of their sound, as, for instance, can be heard in his showpiece, "No Quarter" (from "Houses of the Holy"). The live version featured in the 1976 movie "The Song Remains the Same", over 12 minutes long, includes a haunting fantasy sequence, with JONES impersonating a masked horseman, and playing both piano and organ.

After drummer John Bonham's sudden death in 1980, LED ZEPPELIN disbanded - even though in the following years they reformed on a couple of occasions, most recently for a one-off benefit concert held at London's O2 Arena in December 2007. JONES, who had continued his session work even while a member of the band, started collaborating with a number of high-profile artists, such as REM, Peter GABRIEL, THE FOO FIGHTERS and Brian ENO. He also set up his own recording studio,...
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ZoomaZooma
Discipline Global Mobile 1999
Audio CD$13.02
$4.98 (used)
The ThunderthiefThe Thunderthief
Discipline Us 2002
Audio CD$11.59
$6.14 (used)
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JOHN PAUL JONES discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JOHN PAUL JONES top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.94 | 14 ratings
Scream for Help
1985
3.68 | 45 ratings
Zooma
1999
3.47 | 33 ratings
The Thunderthief
2001

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JOHN PAUL JONES Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Thunderthief by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.47 | 33 ratings

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The Thunderthief
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by Emiliano

4 stars People who have come across JPJ in their lifes usually realize that he is the most versatile musician in the rock scene, with only Mike Oldfield trailing behind. Funny how two musicians with similar talent end up in different roads. To understand JPJ's versatility I must recall a question usually done to him: - "What did you do before Led Zeppelin?" - "Well, I played in virtually every band."

At that time, pre 70's, JPJ and Jimmy Page worked as session musicians. After building the beast that Led Zeppelin came to be, JPJ had the freedom to choose any path he wanted to. For years, he became an arranger (R.E.M's Automatic for the People; Foo Fighters' In Your Honor) and a producer (Sara Watkins.) Prior to touring with Them Crooked Vultures and Seasick Steve (I love his handcrafted guitars and his blues,) JPJ embarked into the avant-garde rock scene, a process which started by touring with Diamanda Galás. A few years later came the two JPJ solo CDs, Zooma and the Thunderthief.

While Zooma is all about having songs to play bass live once again, The Thunderthief is JPJ having fun in studio. Yet, even when both albums can be branded as avant-garde rock, The Thunderthief is richer in variety. Don't get fooled, this is no masterpiece, it's just one of the most talented and captivating musicians in the rock scene doing his mojo. And the result is brilliant, funny, and musically felt but light-hearted. No need to be profound for JPJ, it is just not his style. Instead, we are offered with groovy, awe-inspiring, and sometimes intricate songs that make you wonder why he hasn't played them live.

The only three songs in the album that can be related back to Zooma are Leafy Meadows (including a solo by you "Kc"now who,) Daphne, and Shibuya Bop. These are all songs showcasing why JPJ is regarded as one of the most influential bassists in the rock scene. Shibuya Bop is my favorite of these three, because that bass line is just terrific. As regards, Leafy Meadows, I have yet to ascertain if JPJ uses his famous lap steel bass in this track, which you can see in any live rendition of Them Crooked Vultures "Noboby Loves Me Neither Do I." That's an jawdropping instrument crafted by Manson, JPJ's official luthier.

Then, there are two other instrumentals: the awe-inspring Hoediddle, and the classic folk song Down to the River to Pray. Hoediddle is just an amazing song I'd rather not spoil to you, just listen to it! Down to the River to Pray is JPJ showing why songs in the like of Going to California and That's the Way are Led Zeppelin fan favourites.

Finally, there are four song sang by JPJ himself, with his not so-nice yet lovely and acceptable voice. Lyrics are mostly absurd, and those four songs are quite diverse in style and atmosphere. Again: variety is the spice of life and the spice of this album. This album has songs from two rock styles widely regarded as opposites: prog and punk. There you have it, JPJ did it again for fun and that's partly what punk's about: having fun in the face of the old naysayers!

P.D.: there are two songs from this era not recorded in studio, but played live and well documented. First, JPJ's triple neck guitar solo. This is my favourite guitar solo, as JPJ uses the loop pedal to raise the bar in guitar soloing. Inspiring and fun. The second is one of the songs I regard as most avant-garde, Them Crooked Vultures' Highway 1. Just hear the magic of that song in TCV's single "Mind Eraser no Chaser." The Köln version of Highway 1, broadcasted by WDR's Rockpalast, is even better.

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 Zooma by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.68 | 45 ratings

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Zooma
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars AHHH! Timing; being there at the right time and place. In a Prog-perfect world this "jewel" would not be buried in "oblivion land". This effort will be by far more appreciated by "Russian Circle, "Lite", kind of people and followers. Instrumental based (no vocals), solid, daring, creative; non-stop and yes perfectly executed by post/Rock X-Monster band: bassist, keyboardist and arranger John Paul Jones, or plain J.P.J. (If we come to terms; that he was the prog-oriented guy in the "ZEP" machine). Some songs of course are heavy-prog oriented; but in the long run it is more than evident the weight he carried of the "LED". Musical diversity was always attributed to him by fellow members; he brought along different flavors and spices to Led Zeppelins's kitchen. Well skilled multi- instrumentalist; composer with classical training. He was, to be clear the soul of that band (alongside long gone drummer John Bonham) and that soul was transposed into this, his first album outside the Zeppelin. (Skipping of course the "Scream" o.s.t project). ZOOMA makes you realize how well defined his language is. A sum of the parts, made the Zep what they were, and JPJ was more than just a perfect bass player for Jimmy Page or the band.

He also hid some "big tricks" under the Zep's big hat.!!.. If the "riffs" were not Jimmy's they were "Jonesy's". But, as a well versed multi-instrumentals, he is also well aquainted with less prog oriented flavors like country, rag, funk and also the Renaissance-like styled compositions. (Zeppelin's "Houses of the Holy" prog-funk orientation is one of his evident contributions to the band, as "No-Quarter"; one of the most prog oriented, Zeppelin songs.) ZOOMA, Is a sum of all his talents freed into a self owned and titled album. The experience is quiet a thrill, being for starters, that JPJ stands outside the "Zep's" enormous shadow, but would not sacrifice his own language and intention, in the way. So this project is more directed towards un-structured experimentations-like songs, (very un-Zep), within a limited range, of course.

The use of opposite styles, prog and not, are wisely used, as not to become the songs themselves but part of the "whole" song. So with a touch of different styles in some songs, the "transitition", turns out more like a "Jonesy" project than Zep's.

ZOOMA has well structured solid Heavy-Prog songs, but also different directions and flavors in some others. ****4 "Daring good-excellent album" Stars. Prog and not, but kind of HEAVY..

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 Zooma by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.68 | 45 ratings

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Zooma
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by dragonspirit

3 stars I'll begin this review by saying that Led Zeppelin and King Crimson are my two favorite bands. Overall, this album by LPJ sounds more like a demo than a finished product. That is really unfortunate. I hear a lot of good foundations and ideas that could have been further developed into outstanding pieces. I agree with an earlier reviewer that some tracks could definitely have used either a vocalist or (in my opinion) a lead guitar soloing over the other instruments. Nosumi Blues succeeds fairly well thanks to the lead guitar. It could have been used on other tracks as well.

It is, at times, repetitive, and at times it has powerful intensity. I find the non-prog numbers to be, in general, executed better than the prog ones, in fact.

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 The Thunderthief by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.47 | 33 ratings

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The Thunderthief
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Second stidio album under his name issued in 2002 named The thunderthif. To me this is equaly good as previous one Zooma. Here we have vocal parts coming from him on some pieces, we have Fripp as guest on Leafy meadows and we have a great album overall. Again the bass is very proeminent from more calm parts like on Daphne to crunchy bass lines as on Angry angry. His voice is not particulary strong, on Angry angry he sounding like is singing from a can or buckett. The instrumental parts are more then ok most of the time with good passages.Some synth appears sporadicaly also made by JPJ and have a prog atmospher , also some King Crimson elements are to be found here and there. Nice one, maybe I prefere little bit Zooma, but this one is close. Nice art work.3.5 stars.

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 Zooma by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.68 | 45 ratings

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Zooma
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 really

First album named Zooma of this legendary bassist/keyboardist from ex Led zeppelin John Paul Jones. This is a groovy kind of album where his bass is all over the places, lots of great chops here with plenty of experimental twists and atmosphere. All album is instrumental and on each tune JPJ show that he is apt to call him one of the best and most influencel bass players ever. Zooma has many great moments on pieces like Zooma, Grind or Bass n' Drums. The album overall has a progressive direction and the arrangements are intricate and well performed. This a a fairly solid album that will please most of the experimental instrumental albums with crunchy bass parts. very nice one. 3.5 stars.

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 Scream for Help by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1985
2.94 | 14 ratings

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Scream for Help
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars I just never realized that there was this album where it seems like the first album from John Paul Jones and might also be the first in scoring. Just found this from the cassette second market that cost me cheaply but really intrigued me to purchase because of two reasons: It's John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin fame whom his basswork as well as organ work I like (like in No Quarter) and there is one song that people have said as Jon Anderson's and famous in my country: Christie. So then I got it even though in a cassette format but in a good condition.

I expected that the music was somewhat similar like his solo work afterwards but I was wrong - it's a mixture of various styles of music especially pop and rock. The opening track 'Spaghetti Junction' sets the tone for the whole album with relatively fast tempo music in a loop programming style featuring guitar work by Page and organ by Jones. Quite an interesting opening, really - well....at leat I enjoy this instrumental bit. The second track 'Bad Child' features Jones in vocal. I love the two tracks where Jon takes vocal work: 'Silver Train' and the famous 'Christie'. 'Crackback' demonstrates Jimmy Page stunning guitar work and composition-wise I do enjoy this track. There are pop stuffs like 'When You Fall In Love', 'Take It Or Leave It'. If all songs were performed as the movie is on, I think all songs form a cohesive story line. But in this case is just a collection of songs.

Overall - it's a good collection of songs and a good start for Jones solo work. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Zooma by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.68 | 45 ratings

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Zooma
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Second ex-Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones solo album is the best of all three he is released till now (2010). From the very first seconds you will hear that energetic rhythm section pulsation, and you will stay with it all album long.

Pete Thomas,album's drummer, is real hero of this record as well - it's often quite difficult to say if this album isn't drummer's solo release. Paul Leary is competent guitarist and Trey Gunn's Warr guitar sound in many places gives you very Crimsonian feeling.

I have quite mixed feeling after some listening of this album though. Great energy, some groove and very competent musicianship from one side, and quite simplistic, straightforward compositions from the other. Bluesy roots here and there. Missing link between Led Zeppelin and post-80 King Crimson?

Possibly yes, but never as good as Led Zeppelin or King Crimson itself. Easy accessible music though, could have more fans I believe.In many places I felt Plant vocals would be a great improve of the compositions.

Very competent album, my rating is 3+.

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 The Thunderthief by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.47 | 33 ratings

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The Thunderthief
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Third JP Jones solo album ( I count his duet album with Diamanda Galas as her album, for sure) is music for his fans mostly. And for fans of Robert Fripp, which participates on one song (Leafy Meadows) here. This song is album's opener. Fripp's guitar sounds very KC-like, for both good and band. I like this sound, but all of KC fans listened to it so many times!

Second song has vocals (JP Jones himself), I am not sure that was good idea. John also plays all string (big list) and all keys. In fact, all the musicians team is duo (JP Jones plus drummer Terl Bryant ) with three guest guitarist , each just played on one or two tracks.

The music is complex and muddy, but with real lack of composition. It looks JP enjoy playing so many instruments, mixing the sound in one final product. But too often it is more attractive to himself, than to listener.

"Ice Fishing at Night" ( how many of you know what does it means? I love it!) is a ballade, intention was good, but the musical result is very limited.

"Daphne" has it's roots somewhere in Led Zeppelin's vaults."Angry Angry" shows JP going punky. Plenty of dirty energy in sound, but the result is too faceless again ( or it was the initial idea - just to record real punk opus, which should be faceless, dirty and full of energy).

"Down to the River to Pray " is bluegrass song played acoustic with some eastern scent, sounds better than you can expect. "Shibuya Bop" is a hard fast instrumental with Nick Beggs on Chapman Stick. Sounds as LZ goes KC.

The final song "Freedom Song" (real song - with JP singing) is acoustic Eastern ballade.

Overall, the album is interesting work for LZ,KC and JP Jones heavy fans. Far from masterpiece, it brings some interesting moments from music and musicians we love. Don't think it has any attraction for newcomers .

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 The Thunderthief by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.47 | 33 ratings

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The Thunderthief
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars While Zooma showed us how good John Paul Jones can be on his own The Thunderthief introduced some of his flaws as a solo artist. Although instrumentally it's still a great album the quality of lyrics and vocals bring it down just a bit for me.

It's great that Jones Paul Jones pushes things forward by trying new ideas but I believe that he should instead improve on the things he is good at and not try to succeed where other artists can do a much better job with less effort.

Having said that I still consider this release to be highly enjoyable and overall it's a great successor to Zooma. Jones increased the ante by exchanging Trey Gunn's Crimsonesque guitar solos with the real deal. Yes, I'm talking about the legendary Robert Fripp performing on an ex-Led Zeppelin members solo album. The whole concept just blows my mind especially considering what an amazing performance Mr.Fripp gives on Leafy Meadows!

The Thunderthief might not be the follow-up I way expecting from John Paul Jones but it's great to know that he can still surprise the listeners and it's truly a pity that Jones still haven't released a follow-up to this album.

***** star songs: Leafy Meadows (5:10) Daphne (4:50) Shibuya Bop (5:56)

**** star songs: Hoediddle (7:00) Ice Fishing At Night (4:31) Down To The River To Pray (4:17)

*** star songs: The Thunderthief (5:58) Angry Angry (5:54) Freedom Song (2:37)

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 Zooma by JONES, JOHN PAUL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.68 | 45 ratings

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Zooma
John Paul Jones Heavy Prog

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

4 stars Zooma has been criminally overlooked on this site. Maybe it's because not many cared to check out a John Paul Jones album released in 1999 or just that most people don't know that his discography is on Prog Archives. Personally I really hope that it's the latter and I'm looking forward to reading many more reviews in the near future!

After listening to this album I have finally realized why Robert Plant / Jimmy Page-solo albums never sounded as good as their work in Led Zeppelin. All of the best songs were actually contributed by Mr. John Paul Jones! And this instrumental album actually proves it one crunchy bass line at a time!

Zooma is one really heavy album that will most likely put many of Led Zepplin compositions to shame. I'm not talking about the production values which are understandably superior to Zeppelin's 70's records but Zooma is dominated by the heavy sounding bass which really makes these compositions almost sound like the later King Crimson material. This can actually also be contributed to Trey Gunn soloing on some of the tracks with a Crimsonesque type of vibe.

This is truly a must have album for fans of heavy prog music. So if you are lucky enough to find this album, grab it and never let go!

***** star songs: Zooma (5:52) Goose (4:58) B. Fingers (5:26) Tidal (4:20)

**** star songs: Grind (5:20) The Smile Of Your Shadow (5:50) Bass 'N' Drums (2:32) Snake Eyes (7:32)

*** star songs: Nosumi Blues (5:48)

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Thanks to raff for the artist addition.

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