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Booker T. Jones

From Academic Kids

Booker T. Jones (born November 12, 1944) is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and arranger, most well known for fronting the band Booker T. and the MGs.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Jones had become an accomplished musician while still a child, playing the oboe, saxophone, trombone, and piano at school and serving as organist at his church. He attended Booker T. Washington High School, the alma mater of Rufus Thomas and shared the hallowed halls with future stars like Isaac Hayes's writing partner David Porter, saxophonist Andrew Love of The Memphis Horns, soul singer/songwriter William Bell and Earth, Wind, and Fire's Maurice White.

Jones first entry into professional music came at age sixteen, when he played baritone sax on Satellite (soon to be Stax) Records' first hit, "Cause I Love You", by Rufus and Carla Thomas.

While hanging around the Satellite Record Shop run by Estelle Axton, co-owner of Satellite Records with her brother Jim Stewart, Jones met record clerk Steve Cropper, who would become one of the MGs when the group formed in 1962. Besides Jones on organ and Cropper on guitar, Booker T. and and the MGs featured Steinberg on bass and Al Jackson, Jr. on drums (Donald "Duck" Dunn eventually replacing Steinberg). Over the next few years, Jones would divide his time between his studies at Indiana University, playing with the MGs, serving as a session musician with other Stax acts and writing songs that would become classics. He wrote, with Eddie Floyd, "I've Never Found a Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)", Otis Redding's "I Love You More Than Words Can Say", and with William Bell, Albert King's "Born Under a Bad Sign".

In 1970, Jones moved to California and stopped playing sessions for Stax, after becoming frustrated with Stax's treatment of the MGs as employees rather than musicians and the 1971 album Melting Pot would prove to be the last Booker T. & the MGs album.

Jones produced three albums with his wife, under the name Booker T. & Priscilla, as well as making the charts as a solo artist in 1981 with "I Want You". He also produced Priscilla's sister Rita Coolidge, Bill Withers's Ain't No Sunshine album, and Willie Nelson's album Stardust, as well as playing with Ray Charles. Jones currently still plays with Booker T. & the MGs and his own Booker T. Jones Band.

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For other people known as Booker T, see Booker T.

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