Born in Montréal’s Little Burgundy neighbourhood on September 11, 1934, Oliver Jones is one of Canada’s most famous jazz pianists. At the age of 3, he was able to play from memory songs he had heard on the radio. At 5 years of age, he was already the pianist for the Union United Church. He subsequently studied classical piano.
From very early on, Oliver Jones earned his living through music, discovering Quebec while touring the province. His work as a musician and musical director took him to the United States and to Puerto Rico with his quartet – and his wife and son – in tow. His career led him to explore various musical styles, although he always maintained a preference for jazz.
Ironically, it was upon returning to settle in Montréal, his hometown, at 45 years of age, that he was finally able to get back to the music he loves so much and earn a reputation that has continued to grow, at home and abroad.
An exceptionally talented pianist, Oliver Jones is recognized as a legend of jazz, not only in Montréal but around the world as well. He has performed solo, in duets and in trios, notably sharing the stage with Sarah Vaughan, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett and virtually all of the great names in jazz.
The legendary Oliver Jones officially retired on January 1, 2000. In 2002, he became the Artistic Director of the jazz section of the Montreal Chamber Music Festival. The internationally renowned musician came out of retirement in 2006 to launch his show and album One More Time. To celebrate his 80th birthday, Oliver Jones gave a concert for his fans at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2014.
A true international jazz icon, Oliver Jones is also a mentor to young piano sensation Daniel Clarke Bouchard.
Recognized by the public and his peers, he has received numerous awards and distinctions over the course of his impressive career: the PROCAN (now SOCAN) Award, the Juno Award, the Prix Félix, the Oscar Peterson Award, the Golden Ducat, the Martin Luther King Jr. Award, the Prix Opus and ADISQ awards for Album of the Year on two occasions. In addition to the many honours recognizing his musical work, Oliver Jones is also an Officer of the Order of Canada (1993), a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec (1994), and an honorary citizen of Ville de Montréal (2014).
Oliver Jones was inducted into the Academy of Great Montrealers in the Cultural category in 2014 and was named a Commander of the Ordre de Montréal in 2016.
Source: Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal