GENE JONES is the author of FABLES IN SLANG, a ragtime-era revue presented by the Melting Pot Theatre Company in New York City in 1999. The New York Times called FABLES a “natty, nostalgic” and “stylish” show that “seems to channel the spirit of George Ade.” Writing with David A. Jasen, Gene is co-author of three books on popular music that are favorites of fans and researchers alike. THAT AMERICAN RAG (Schirmer Books, 2000) is, so far, the most extensive study of regional ragtime composers and publishers. BLACK BOTTOM STOMP (Routledge Books, 2002) examines the first major composers and players of jazz. SPREADIN’ RHYTHM AROUND, their definitive history of black popular songwriters, won the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award in 1999. It was recently reissued in paperback by Routledge Books. Gene’s biographical essay on Ethel Waters was published in the anthology HARLEM SPEAKS in 2006. He will have several articles in the upcoming OXFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY.
As an actor, Gene has appeared on Broadway in BIG RIVER and in August Wilson’s JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE. His off-Broadway shows include THE FANTASTICKS, ROOM SERVICE, and (at ELT) THE LITTLE FOXES. In regional theatres, he has appeared in THE IMMIGRANT, OUR TOWN, ELMER GANTRY, A WONDERFUL LIFE, and Tom Stoppard’s ROUGH CROSSING, among other plays.
Gene has provided voices and narration for several of the landmark documentary films directed by Ken Burns, including THE CIVIL WAR (as John Wilkes Booth), THE WEST (as Mark Twain), and LEWIS AND CLARK. Gene is also heard in Ric Burns’ THE DONNER PARTY, THE WAY WEST, and NEW YORK. He is the voice of DuBose Heyward in BROADWAY: THE AMERICAN MUSICAL, and is a proud veteran of two CHAPPELLE’S SHOWs, in Dave’s classic second season. He will be seen in the next Coen Brothers film, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.