Remembering Mark Allen Jones, Titan of Ragtime and Hot Jazz

In August, we lost a towering titan of ragtime and hot jazz piano. Mark Allen Jones passed away in his home in Carmel, CA. He had a muscular touch on the keys, an acerbic wit and never failed to entertain. Mark Allen Jones began playing piano at the age of five. He attended the University of Southern California School of Music. At the age of 18, Mark began playing piano professionally at Shakey’s Pizza in Pasadena. On the circuit, Mark was the pianist for the celebrated Hot Frogs Jumping Jazz Band and also played with other bands while maintaining a busy solo performance schedule. Mark worked on the Mississippi Queen steamboat and appeared at Boggstown Cabaret in Indiana for two years. He also wrote and performed in the “Ragtime Lil” show in Branson, MO, for a year. When he was offered a two week gig in Atlantic City, he and his employees liked it so much he stayed for five years! He formed his own band, Hot Jazz Pie, which performed full-time at the Showboat Casino in Atlantic City, and it was there that Brian Holland encountered him during one of his summers as a pianist in a trio in Atlantic City in the late 1990’s. JB: Brian, before we reminisce about Mark Allen Jones (MAJ) and your experiences with him in Atlantic City, did you ever run into him during his performances at the Boggstown Cabaret? You’ve shared with me how important that venue was to a young Hoosier pe
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Jeff Barnhart is an internationally renowned pianist, vocalist, arranger, bandleader, recording artist, ASCAP composer, educator and entertainer. Visit him online at Email: [email protected]

Brian Holland is a Ragtime piano wizard, Ragtime writer, and the founder of the Stomptime! Ragtime Cruise. He performs regularly with Danny Coots as Holland and Coots. Write him at [email protected]

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