|Birth name||Charles Jones III|
|Born||January 12, 1941|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, cornet|
|Associated acts||Nas, Bravehearts, AZ|
Olu Dara Jones (born Charles Jones III, January 12, 1941) is an American cornetist, guitarist, and singer. He is the father of rapper Nas.
Olu Dara was born Charles Jones III January 12, 1941, in Natchez, Mississippi.His mother, Ella Mae, was born in 1911 in Canton, Mississippi. His father, Charles Jones II, also born in Natchez, was a travelling musician, and sang with The Melodiers, a vocal quartet with a guitarist.
As a child, Dara took piano and clarinet lessons. He studied at Tennessee State University, initially a pre-med major, switching to music theory and composition.
From 1959 to 1964 he was a musician in the Navy, which he described as a priceless educational experience.
In 1964, he moved to New York City and changed his name to Olu Dara,which means "God is good" in the Yoruba language. In the 1970s and '80s he played alongside David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Hamiet Bluiett, Don Pullen, Charles Brackeen, James Blood Ulmer, and Cassandra Wilson. He formed two bands, the Okra Orchestra and the Natchezsippi Dance Band.
His first album, In the World: From Natchez to New York (1998), revealed another aspect of his musical personality: the leader and singer of a band immersed in African-American tradition, playing an eclectic mix of blues, jazz, and storytelling, with tinges of funk, African popular music, and reggae. His second album Neighborhoods , with guest appearances by Dr. John and Cassandra Wilson, followed in a similar vein.
Dara played on the album Illmatic (1994) by his son, rapper Nas, and on the song "Dance" (2002), also by Nas, and he sang on Nas's song "Bridging the Gap" (2004).
With Charles Brackeen
With Rhys Chatham
With Carlos Garnett
With Corey Harris
With Craig Harris
With David Murray
With Jamaaladeen Tacuma
With Henry Threadgill
With James Blood Ulmer
With Cassandra Wilson
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