FAIRFIELD— Jinx Jones doesn’t view music in the same way as those who put things in categories.
“I see fewer lines between the different genres,” he said. “I’ve had the pleasure of playing different styles and I like them all a lot.”
The common thread is the tune has to be fun to play on the guitar.
Jones, who will perform at the Wednesday Night Ramble on Wednesday, picked up the guitar before he was a teen. He taught himself to play despite what he said is a lack of good instruction books.
“When I was young, there was not a lot of learning material,” he said. “The level of playing that instrument had not evolved to what it is today.”
He dabbled in piano and found himself preferring it to others. An “intervention” in junior high school sent him back to the guitar. A friend invited him to a rock concert featuring a band from England. Their name: The Jimi Hendrix Experience.
“It was such an eye-opening, mind-blowing experience,” Jones said. “I saw Hendrix and thought, ‘This guy is totally free.’ He has complete freedom as he plays. That’s what I want.”
Jones realized he could never have that freedom on the piano or organ. Today, Jones said he feels most free when improvising on his guitar in front of an audience.
Jones honed his skills in the Denver music scene in the 1980s. It was a time when audiences were willing to let performers try something new.
“You could get very creative,” he said.
He was doing the songwriting for his group at the time and would bring his new material before a live audience for their reaction.
“A lot of fun” is what Jones plans for the Ramble appearance. He and Ramble organizer Don Bassey have been pals for many years.
Vallejo was the first stop for Jones when he came to California decades ago. He stayed in Motel 6, then got a condo, before moving to San Francisco.
Bassey and Jones played some shows together but it’s been a while. Jones guessed the last time they shared the stage was about 1989.
He’ll also be catching up with fellow Ramble guest Bobby Walker, another musical pal. The two were members of a rockabilly band in the early 1980s.
“Given the fact I have a limited amount of time on stage, I’ll do a cross-section of what I like,” Jones said. “It will be a big amalgam of music.”
Jones can be heard on En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind.” He also played annually with Chuck Berry for about a decade.
“I’ve got a fair share of Chuck Berry shows under my belt,” he said. There were cues for the band to follow from Berry. Berry was also known to have some fun with the stop and start cues.
Berry would often get within a few feet of Jones.
“The look in the eyes was everything from extremely frightening to really cool,” Jones said.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.