Following his initial musical training in Cambridge where he studied piano with the concert pianist and composer Philip Mead, in 1985 Dave attended the first ever Jazz, Rock and Studio Music Summer School at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he was inspired by tuition in jazz piano and harmony with Lionel Grigson. He soon after embarked on a musical career, initially involving recording sessions at Maida Vale Studios in London for BBC Radio 2 programmes hosted by Dave Gelly (jazz critic, author) and Digby Fairweather (jazz cornetist, author) with the jazz-funk band '706'. Around this time, he also performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in a two-week residency with the same band.
Dave, no stranger to the recording studio, supervised the digital audio restoration of many recordings, both historical and contemporary, and whether jazz, classical, pop, or rock, for the then burgeoning new market of CD sales in the early to mid-1990's. He also accompanied numerous leading jazz performers including Jim Mullen, Alan Barnes, Mornington Lockett, Dick Pearce, Dave Cliff, Asaf Sirkis, and Gilad Atzmon, regularly playing at the Soho International Jazz Festival amongst others, and a variety of other venues in London, East Anglia, and the South East.
In 1996 he released a very well-received debut CD, 'Have you met Mr. Jones?' (PARCD507), produced by drummer/percussionist Robin Jones, which was launched at the Pizza Express Dean Street Jazz Club – "Dave Jones has a fine technique, rhythmic assurance and a straight-ahead style which makes him a very accomplished pianist indeed." (John Pearce, jazz pianist). Whilst studying for an MA in performance and studio composition, in 1999 Dave co-produced a second album, this time at the Gateway Recording Studios in Kingston, featuring bassist Herbie Flowers. Dave then became involved in music education at an institutional level, leading courses in A Level Music and Music Technology, directing student jazz groups of various sizes (sometimes in a workshop setting) and acquiring a PGCE (PCET) teaching qualification, ultimately leading to his design, authoring, and delivery of music degree courses, until 2015 when he decided to concentrate on freelance work.
Since returning to Wales in 2003, he has accompanied Dave O'Higgins, Steve Waterman, and Karen Sharp, and with his own trio has backed award-winning saxophonist Simon Spillett - "... I was fortunate to work with the trio of pianist Dave Jones, a musician of formidable gifts" (Simon Spillett, Jazz UK Oct/Nov 2011). Dave launched his acclaimed 'Impetus' (DJT003) trio album at London's Vortex Jazz Club, the music highlighting his output as a composer in a piano trio context – "Jones is a vigorous but elegant pianist, never flashy or glib, but none the less fluent and inventive for that; his ballads are suitably lyrical, his tone glowing and burnished, and his more up-tempo material draws suitably powerful solos from him. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable album from a sensitive but vibrant band." (Chris Parker, The Vortex website 12/12/2008).
'Impetus' was followed in 2010 by the highly acclaimed 'Journeys' (DJT004) album (inspired by his visit to Washington DC in 2009 to perform at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival), featuring a new trio augmented with saxophones, string quartet, and brass, which was chosen as the London Evening Standard's Jazz CD of the week - "…Port Talbot's Dave Jones is an extraordinary pianist. …He also writes soulful originals and scores them skilfully for horns and occasional strings" (Jack Massarik, 13/08/2010).
His increasing interest in composing and arranging for larger ensemble was reflected in the 2012 album 'Resonance' (DJT005), which attracted substantial media attention in numerous excellent reviews, and also via airtime on BBC Radio 3's 'Jazz Record Requests' and Jazz FM's 'The Cutting Edge' - "The catchy opener, 'The Metro', could be the score to a stylish French thriller…" (Phil Johnson, The Independent on Sunday 29/07/2012).
In November 2012, Jazz Journal magazine featured Dave in a profile of his work in jazz – "… swinging post-Blue Note tunes that are exemplars of musical logic, integrity and effective variation" (Mark Gilbert, Jazz Journal Nov 2012). Subsequently, Dave started writing for Jazz Journal in the form of CD and Book reviews, articles (including a cover article on Grammy Award-winning pianist Michel Camilo, and a monthly series of articles entitled The Classical Tinge, which discussed the influence of classical music on jazz), and interviews with both rising and prominent jazz musicians.
Dave performed at the Lorient Interceltique Festival in 2013 (he returns there in August 2017 to play their Model D Steinway grand piano) with the jazz-folk band 'Burum', and in 2014 and 2015 toured India with the same band, giving workshops at the Global Music Institute in New Delhi. This led to the formation of a new ensemble called Khamira where members of 'Burum' collaborate with leading Indian musicians. They toured in the UK in 2017, enjoying sell-out performances including the final date at the Hay Festival of Literature and The Arts. Their debut album is attracting excellent reviews – "…much tender lyricism, exemplified by Jones's magical, hushed piano meditations…" (Michael Tucker, Jazz Journal).
He has also performed and recorded regularly in Ireland in recent years in collaboration with Wexford jazz drummer and educator Kevin Lawlor, appearing at festivals and arts centres in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, and Wexford … "Jones is no stranger to the Wexford Arts Centre audience and his contributions were always measured and thoughtful" (Jackie Hayden – writer, and music marketer who signed U2 to their first record contract).
In 2016, Dave released a new duet album 'Postscript' (DJT007) with long-standing collaborator and virtuoso bassist Ashley John Long, attracting great reviews – "Jones's strands of influence are never obsessive, but a Bill Evans flavour emanates from an important ingredient: he has a winsome touch on the keyboard and swings easily when required" (Mark Gardner, Jazz Journal).
The Dave Jones Quartet recorded the new album 'KeyNotes' (DJT008) in early 2017, with a slightly new line-up featuring Ben Waghorn on tenor sax and flute (who has also recorded/performed with bands including Goldfrapp, Kasabian and Portishead), and with Jones enjoying the benefit of the Fazioli grand piano at Fieldgate Studios. The album is already attracting great reviews – "The theme-writing is, as you might expect from a successful film and TV composer, memorable, and the playing has a muscular, rolling intensity that puts me in mind of McCoy Tyner." (Robert Shore, Jazzwise) … "The latest release, Key Notes, is a gem. Jones has assembled a formidable quartet" (Mike Collins, London Jazz News) … "… just hear how Jones spirals outwards from his spare, melancholy opening theme into a solo that builds a formidable head of steam." (Simon Spillett, 2017).
Dave has recently achieved substantial success in his composition work for TV and film, having tracks used in the hit US sitcom 'The Big Bang Theory', the US talk-show 'Late Night with Seth Meyers', and also a Mexican drama called 'Las Aparicio' and 'Location, Location, Location' in the UK. He has many new media tracks being released in 2017 via The Gold Leaf Music Library, including eight solo piano pieces, and he also plans to publish a book entitled The Classical Tinge in Jazz (based on his series of articles on the subject for Jazz Journal) in the near future.