Trumpeter/arranger Thad Jones began his career auspiciously, joining Count Basie's band in 1954, where he arranged many Basie compositions and wrote several charts. But Jones was a powerful soloist as well. The same year he joined the Basie band, the great bassist Charles Mingus recorded several small-group sessions with Jones. These sessions became the album The Fabulous Thad Jones, which featured a mix of standards and compositions showcasing Jones' virtuosic trumpet and cornet playing. In 1963, Jones formed his own big band with drummer Mel Lewis, becoming one of the most popular and successful big bands in jazz history. Their unit featured tight horn arrangements, bright tunes, and punchy energy. Jones eventually left Lewis and started another big band, Eclipse, which retained much of the energy and verve of the older band. Jones died in 1986.