The last living drummer from the Funk Brothers, Uriel Jones, passed yesterday at the age of 74, due to complications following a heart attack. He was one of the chief session musicians at Motown for two decades.
Originally Marvin Gaye's tour drummer, Jones began filling in for Benny Benjamin as his drug and alcohol use worsened. Jones went on to use his Art Blakey inspired, hard hitting and crisp style on Motown classics like Marvin and Tammi's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," (and Diana's 1970 cover too) and Stevie's "For Once in My Life." He was also known for his extremely funky work, which was best displayed during the label's foray into the psychedelic, like with the Temps' "Cloud Nine."
Jones still played regularly with his fellow Funk Brothers and lamented missing a recent show last month. If you haven't seen Standing in the Shadows of Motown, it would behoove you to do so.
He is survived by his wife and three kids.
We here at TDOS will miss him greatly.
After the jump, a clip from Standing in the Shadows of Motown (embedding was disabled, unfortunately). Joan Osborne straight kills the Jimmy Ruffin gem, "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted,"which Jones originally recorded. You can see him playing with the late "Pistol" Allen, next to a picture of Benny Benjamin.
Versatile Motown drummer Uriel Jones dies at 74 [AP]