BIOGRAPHY

Derek Jones is recognized for his ability to perform in nearly any musical genre with outstanding facility on the electric, fretless, and double bass. As an educator, he brings a mix of real-world experience and a deep understanding of academic theory to fully prepare his students for work as professional musicians. 
 
Derek has performed or recorded with Paul Hanson • Jeff Sipe • Ray Obiedo • Darol Anger & Mike Marshall • Rob Ickes • The Pete Escovedo Orchestra • Sheila E.• Jeff Coffin • Kai Eckhardt • Orestes Vilato • Nickel Creek
 
Since 2004, Derek has been the upright and electric bassist for Cirque du Soleil's production of KA at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Derek launched his musical career as a 16-year-old guitarist for the Generation Gap Big Band. 

 

After hearing Jaco Pastorius' 1974 album "Jaco," Derek became enchanted by the sound and possibilities of the bass. He put down the guitar, picked up the bass guitar, and began studying music performance and theory at Solano Community College in 1987. He soon transferred to Sonoma State University and became a jazz studies major, taking private double bass lessons with Mel Graves.  

 

In 1991, he was awarded Outstanding Bassist at the Pacific Coast Jazz Festival at UC Berkley. 

 

After two semesters at Sonoma State, Derek felt the need to expand his musical capacity. He left college to pursue his dreams of becoming a full-time musician. He was soon working with Orestes Vilato's band "Los Kimbos 90s" and became immersed in the San Francisco salsa scene.

 

During this period, he continued studying with Kai Eckhardt and performing as a bass duo. He also worked with such Bay Area legends as David Garibaldi, Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., Paul McCandless, Joel Harrison, Paul Hanson, Mike Marshall, and Darol Anger.

 

Never one to be satisfied with the status quo, Derek felt the need for a new challenge. Encouraged by his friends Victor Wooten and Rob Ickes, Derek moved to Nashville in 1999. 

 

There, he played on sessions with Jeff Coffin, Matt Rollings, Jerry Douglas, Larry Carlton, and Chester Thompson. He soon started touring with Jeff Coffin, Peter Mayer, Nickel Creek, Jerry Douglas, Grease Factor, and Chrystal Gayle. 

 

Derek also played bass on the Pixar movie short "Boundin'" for The Incredibles movie recorded at Ocean Way Studios.

 

In 2004, Derek auditioned for, and accepted, the bass chair for Cirque du Soleil's new resident production KA in Las Vegas.

 

Since moving to Las Vegas, Derek has enjoyed performing with a diverse group of artists and gigs, ranging from jazz trios to large corporate events -- in addition to playing more than 470 shows a year with KA. 

 

In addition to private teaching, Derek has served as adjunct faculty for jazz bass at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

 

Artists

Over the past 30 years, Derek has performed with such notable artists as:

 

  • Jerry Douglas

  • Bela Fleck

  • David Liebman

  • Jeff Sipe

  • Derek Trucks

  • Ray Obiedo

  • The Mike Marshal/Darol Anger Band

  • The Pete Escovedo Orchestra

  • Sheila E.

  • Dori Caymmi

  • Paul McCandless (Oregon)

  • David Grissman

  • Rob Ickes

  • Paul Hanson (The greatest bassoon player in the world!)

  • Nickel Creek

  • Craig Chaquico

  • Chester Thompson

  • Zakir Hussain

  • Crystal Gayle

  • David Garibaldi

  • Steve Smith

  • Kai Eckhardt

  • Bob McChesney

  • David Loeb (Head of the Jazz Dept-UNLV)

  • The Nevada Jazz Orchestra

  • The Las Vegas Jazz Connection

  • Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones/Dave Mathews Band)

  • Ramblin' Jack Elliot ("The Long Ride Home": nominated for a Grammy in 2000) 

  • Orestes Vilato (Santana, Fania All Stars, Cachao)

  • Tony Furtado




 

Television

Derek has worked on such television shows as Vibe, Later with Jools Holland (UK), The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with Conan O'Brien, CMT Live, 2001 & 2002 CMA Awards, and The 2013 Latin Grammy Awards show. 

 

Derek can also be seen in the 2006 season premiere of CSI: Las Vegas.


 

Gaming

Derek was the bassist on the LucasArts adventure game Grim Fandango (1998). Game Revolution praised it as one of the "most memorable soundtracks ever to grace the inside of a cranial cavity where an eardrum used to be."

 

PC Gamer, in its 2014 list of Top 100 Games, acclaimed Grim Fandango for including "one of the best soundtracks in PC gaming history."

 

Media

Derek was featured in the Nov. '00 issue of Bass Player Magazine and the

Nov. 2010 issue of Bass Musician Magazine. 

 

His recorded work has been reviewed in Bass Player, Jazz Is, Dirty Linen, and Down Beat.