A native of Englewood, New Jersey, Koko grew up in a household immersed in jazz, soul, gospel and blues, from Charlie Parker and Lou Rawls to Nat King Cole and Mahalia Jackson, along with the pop and R&B legends of the times. Reportedly, Koko’s grandmother, Maggie Walker Jones, once played with (and maybe even recorded with) Bessie Smith. The arts of all types were nurtured in the Jones household and piano lessons were a requirement, not an elective.
Jones traces her percussion expertise to the age-old ‘academy of the streets.’ Over the years she has evolved an increasingly comprehensive approach to her instruments, commanding respect from artists such as the Isley Brothers, Whitney Houston, Winard Harper, and Reggie Workman.
A passionate and skilled teacher, Koko is also deeply dedicated to passing on her ‘street academy’ music smarts to the next generation, through teaching residencies and in workshops at colleges and other youth organizations. She currently teaches at The Bronx Arts Ensemble where she’s worked for 15 years with a population of underserved youth and MADLOM (Montclair Academy of Dance and Laboratory of Music) founded by Reggie Workman and Maya Milenovich.
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