Saxophonist Eldon T Jones moves hearts through his profoundly genuine playing and a groove jazz style he’s honed in Portland with his band N Touch.
Eldon fell in love with music from listening to his uncles play saxophone and his mother sing. He began playing sax in his church and at Jefferson High School in Portland, where he won awards in classical and jazz. From there, he studied music at Mt. Hood Community College, the pinnacle of jazz education in the Northwest. Grover Washington, Jr., Wilton Felder of the Crusaders, and Kirk Whalum inspired his playing.
Eldon started N Touch in 1995, and in 2001, they released their first album which still rings true with fans today. N Touch attracted a local following and opened for Tower of Power and Earth, Wind, & Fire. They even performed at a private event for Michael Jordan. The original N Touch musicians moved on to new projects, and Eldon kept the music of N Touch alive in Portland over the years with new members.
In 2015, Eldon contributed the song “Love Will Find a Way” to the Bespeak Love collaboration, which reached #1 on the UK Soul Chart and was played throughout the US on smooth jazz radio stations. World Arts Foundation recognized Eldon’s music as a blessing to the community with a Lifetime Achievement Award at their Martin Luther King, Jr. Tribute in 2017. In 2018, the original N Touch members took the Alberta Rose Theatre stage for the sold-out crowd to relive an era. Eldon performed the music of his idol, Grover Washington, Jr. at PDX Jazz Festival in 2019 and took the show on the road to Bend, Oregon for three sold-out Jazz at the Oxford concerts in 2020.
Eldon released “T’s Jam” as a single on October 25, 2021, and it peaked at #54 in its 16-week run on the Smooth Jazz Network Top 100. “T’s Jam” also reached #1 on the Groove Jazz Music Most Added chart, and #4 on the Billboard Smooth Jazz Most Added chart. Eldon is elated to share it with the world because it captures the essence of his joyous personhood and musicality. Mixed by industry Midas Darren Rahn, it’s a funky smooth jazz tune with a kick. The gospel organ lays the foundation before the band spirals into an all-out jam!
Following the success of “T’s Jam,” Rahn signed Eldon to his label Side 2 Music, and the two quickly got to work on capturing Eldon’s signature sound for another radio single! He released “Captured by Love” on May 27, 2022. Eldon’s voice soars in this soulful exploration surrounded by some of the industry’s top session players. “Captured by Love” is sure to lift and elevate the listener and provide a feel-good atmosphere of groove and romance.
Eldon values his role as a mentor and has provided a training ground for outstanding musicians including his brother Anthony Jones (Pink Martini), Chris Turner (Prince), Darius Fentress (Fred Hammond), and pianist Patrick Cooper. N Touch currently features UO Gospel Choirs graduate Zack Poelwijk, a next-level talent who roots the group in gospel on keyboard, savvy vet Torry Ward on bass, Jonathan Schuler on bluesy guitar, and returning vets, Anthony Jones and his jaw-dropping drum solos and funky Chris Turner on auxiliary keyboards and keytar.
Eldon continues to play in church and performs at community events such as the Oregon Symphony’s Gospel Christmas, Good N the Hood, and charity concerts. He is currently recording new singles and performing Grover Washington, Jr tribute concerts.
Eldon T Jones has appeared on the nationally televised BET Jazz. He has performed with Grammy award-winning singer Yolanda Adams, legendary jazz bassists Leroy Vinegar and Gerald Veasley, the “Godfather of Portland Jazz” Mel Brown, saxophonists Najee, Darren Rahn, and David Pack from Ambrosia, trumpeter Farnell Newton, singer/songwriter Morris Chapman, and pianists Ben Tankard and Darrell Grant. Eldon has recorded with guitarist Walter Finch, singer Ronnie Wright, and saxophonist Kevin Moore. He has performed at Jazz Alley (Seattle), Yoshi’s (Oakland), and Portland venues Jimmy Mak’s, the Alberta Rose Theatre, and Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. He has performed at PDX Jazz Festival, Waterfront Blues Festival, Mt. Hood Jazz Festival, Portland Rose Festival, Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival, Jazz at the Oxford, Festival Sundiata, and the Jazz and Oyster Festival.
2007: With all My Heart
2015: “Love Will Find a Way” on Bespeak Love
2021: “T’s Jam” Single
2022: “Captured by Love” Single