Booker T. Jones, (b. 11/12/44) became interested in music as a toddler, when he received his first dime store drum. At age five, he taught himself chords on a ukelele and an old piano, and at age nine, his parents bought him a clarinet. Booker's mother and father were both musically inclined, (his mother was a lead soprano in their church choir, and his father sang).

As a fourth grader, Booker found his way into Memphis' Porter Jr. High School Band by playing the oboe, a difficult woodwind instrument that no one else wanted to tackle. Spending evenings after school in the school bandroom, Booker eventually learned to play the saxophone and flute, later moving to the brass instruments, trombone and baritone horn at Booker T. Washington High School.

Booker T.'s intriguing marriage of R&B and pop sounds has its roots in the clubs and studios of Memphis in the late '50s and '60s. The son of a high school math teacher and a school secretary, Booker T. Jones was sneaking into Memphis clubs to play music by the time he was 14. Booker began working sessions at Stax Records in 1960 at age 16, introduced to the Stax team by high school pal David Porter. With guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Lewie Steinberg, and the late Al Jackson Jr. on drums, he formed the MG's (an acronym for "Memphis Group," or for the sports car, depending on who's telling the story).

Booker T. and the MG's (with Duck Dunn replacing Steinberg on bass) were the studio house band of Memphis' Stax label during the 1960's, playing on records (and backing on stage) acts like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Eddie Floyd. They also found success as one of America's most readily identifiable instrumental groups. In 1962, when Booker was a senior in high school, the group cut "Green Onions," which sold a million copies and was followed by six other Top 40 hits, including "Hip Hug-Her," "Groovin," "Soul-Limbo," "Hang Em' High," and "Time Is Tight."

As a staff musician at Stax Records, Booker played on some of the most important records in the history of rhythm and blues music, including "Born Under A Bad Sign," (written with William Bell), "Hold On I'm Coming," "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," "Try A Little Tenderness," "When Something Is Wrong With My Baby," and others. Booker played trombone on "Skinny Legs and All" by Joe Tex, and baritone sax on "Cause I Love You" by Rufus and Carla Thomas.

From 1962 through 1966, in addition to working in the Stax rhythm section, Booker was attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Driving the 400 miles to Memphis on weekends, and flying from Indianapolis' airport for gigs, Booker finally earned the Bachelor of Music Education Degree, completing his senior recital on trombone.

In the 1970's, as a record producer in Los Angeles, Booker not only put hits on the pop charts, he produced three of the pivotal records in the career of one of country music's biggest stars, Willie Nelson, including the multi-platinum selling 'Stardust' album. Jones produced and arranged other hits on the West Coast, including Bill Withers' 'Ain't No Sunshine' album, and Rita Coolidge's 'Higher and Higher,' and 'We're All Alone,' and Earl Klugh's 'Magic In Your Eyes.'

In California, Booker played on albums by Bobby Darin, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan ('Billy The Kid'), Stephen Stills ('Love The One You're With'), and Barbara Streisand ('Evergreen'). It was during this period that Jones recorded five solo LP's for A&M, Epic, and MCA Record companies. In the eighties, Booker played on albums by Boz Scaggs, Soul Asylum, John Lee Hooker, and Kris Kristofferson.

In 1992, Booker T. & the MG's were honored to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, serving as the house band for its legendary opening ceremonies concert in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995. Later the band received a Grammy for its single, "Cruisin'," and was presented with the Rhythm and Blues Association's Pioneer Award.

After reforming in the mid-eighties for Atlantic Records' 25th Anniversary Concert, the MG's were the house band for Bob Dylan's famous Tribute Concert in 1991 at Madison Square Garden featuring George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Sinead O'Connor. In 1993, the band joined Neil Young for a successful tour of Europe and the United States.

Since 1993, Booker has been presented with three Bammie Awards for outstanding keyboardist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has scored films including Jules Dassin's Uptight, John Cassavetes' Opening Night, and Castle Rock Entertainment's Little Big League. Booker has contributed music to films such as Barfly, Get Shorty, White Men Can't Jump, and American Grafitti.

At present, Booker is living in northern California with his wife Nan and three children, playing occasional dates with Booker T. and the MG's and with groups around the Bay Area.


Booker did not do any record under his own name at Stax There are only 2 tracks where he sings or hums himself : Johnny I Love You and Blues In The Gutter, from the soundtrack of Jules Dassin's movie Uptight, which score he wrote himself. These tracks were recorded in Paris with his usual MG's fellows, Time Is Tight being recorded again in Memphis a few weeks later for the single version.


Johnny I Love You/Cleveland Now/Children Don't Get Weary (Judy Clay)/Tank's Lament/Blues In The Gutter // We've Got Johnny Wells/Down At Ralph's Joint/Deadwood Dick/Run Tank Run/Time Is Tight. Reissued on CD

STA-0028 - Time Is Tight / Johnny I Love You