PHILIP JONES BRASS ENSEMBLE
The idea of a brass ensemble came to Philip Jones while counting his many tacit bars as a very young trumpet player in the Royal Opera House. Brass ensembles did not exist then, nor was there any repertoire. At that time it would have been difficult to imagine that, three decades later, the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, with a large and varied repertoire and over 50 gramophone records to its credit, would be traveling around the world, playing at major international festivals, performing at grand occasions and giving masterclasses on brass ensemble playing worldwide. But this is precisely what the PJBE did during the last ten years of its existence.
The Ensemble, whose members were leading London brass players, made regular concert trips in Europe, toured USA and Japan alternatively every second year and appeared at international festivals. Philip Jones and his musicians were in Australia twice and visited the Near, Middle and Far East. They played for the Pope on his historic visit to England in 1982, both at Westminster Cathedral and at Canterbury, and they appeared on television at home and abroad. Each year several new records were added to their Decca collection. A large part of the repertoire was written or arranged specially for the Ensemble and was published in the JUST BRASS music series at Chester Music London, edited by Elgar Howarth and Philip Jones.
In June 1986 Philip Jones retired from playing the trumpet and the PJBE, which had remained pre-eminent in the world of brass chamber music for 35 years. Some of the members of the Ensemble continued to play together under the name of LONDON BRASS.
In a tribute following Philip Jones’s death in January 2000 Elgar Howarth said: “Philip’s contribution to brass playing is evident. From an initial idea he managed to fulfil his ambition to provide brass players with a platform which had not previously existed.”
The PJBE Library and the programmes are now housed in the Philip Jones Brass Centre at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester.
2021 marks 70 years since Philip started Philip Jones Brass Ensemble