Known by the nickname Papa Jo Jones, he was a jazz drummer who collaborated with artists like Art Blakey and Sonny Stitt. He was a Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame inductee in 1974.
He worked as a carnival tap-dancer as a child.
He revolutionized jazz drumming with his use of the hi-hat and drum brushes.
He was married to Vivien Greene until her death.
He was Ella Fitzgerald's drummer for Ella at the Opera House in 1958.