Max Jones (b.1917 – d.1993) perfected his legendary interviewing technique during a lifetime of writing about jazz musicians, blues players, folk singers and others, delivering acres of reviews & features copy to the weekly Melody Maker music paper for 35 years, until enforced retirement in 1982, when the paper’s proprietors caved into the perceived demands of the latest pop epidemic.
39 of Max’s “Profiles, Interviews And Other Riffs On Jazz Musicians” are collected in his book “Jazz Talking” (in paperback by Da Capo Press, New York, 2000) (originally published in the UK by Macmillan Press in 1987 as “Talking Jazz”)
80+ Max Jones articles can be digested online at the excellent research resource
Scripting a definitive 10-hour BBC Radio 2 series “Satchmo – The Story of Louis Armstrong” (broadcast Jan.1975) Max was ultimately honoured by the BBC Jazz Society in March 1982 for :
“his outstanding contribution to British Jazz as journalist, personality, critic, author & Jazz Editor of Melody Maker.”
The series, presented by Humphrey Lyttelton – a life long friend, resulted from Max’s book “LOUIS : The Louis Armstrong Story 1900 – 1971” (written with jazz trumpeter & historian John Chilton) (also available in paperback via Da Capo Press 1988)
Instantly recognisable with his ever present black beret (the result of alopecia totalis) Max revved around post war London in an open top MG interviewing movers and shakers from all colours of the jazz, blues, folk and gospel music spectrum; greeting overseas visitors in the Arrivals lounge, bearding his subjects in a local hostelry, Mayfair tea room, backstage card game, or Ronnie Scott’s Club, after hours.