If I had a veil of journalistic detachment and objectivity to drop, I’d drop it now just to tell you that Rosendale’s Dean Jones – a legitimate musical visionary and a legendarily good guy – won a share of the Best Children’s Album Grammy last week for his production duties on Can You Canoe? by the Okee Dokee Brothers. And no one was surprised. And everyone was pleased.
For years, Jones was visible to area music fans mostly as the region’s first-call trombonist, performing tirelessly with such club legends as Perfect Thyroid and Soñando. But his genius really shines in his work as composer, songwriter, arranger and producer. The multi-instrumentalist has maintained numerous vehicles for his own songwriting over the years (Harmonica Virgins, Dog on Fleas and solo CDs under his own name) and has enjoyed successful collaborations with the Felice Brothers and with just about every kid/family music artist that I know of: Uncle Rock, Ratboy, Jr., Grenadilla and, of course, the Okee Dokee Brothers.
Why do the stars of “kindie” flock to No Parking Studio in Rosendale? Because inside those haybale walls, “kids’ music” is not something lesser, simpler or more pragmatic and didactic than “real music.” Jones’s musical world is vivid, genuine and unfailingly groovy for all. Bravo, maestro.