Being close enough to almost touch Jimi Hendrix on stage as a youngster was experience enough to send Paul Ubana Jones on a lifelong musical journey.

The ageless performer, who has a gig booked in Levin early next month, said he still remembers that Hendrix concert as a 15 year old in London.

"I don't think anyone was the same after that," he said, with an infectious smile.

It might be a long way from London, but that musical journey continues with a current tour and pending album release - his 10th.


The new album hasn't a name yet, although the songs on it feature prominently on the new tour.

Jones began playing at the age of 11, studying guitar and cello, and not long after that he bought his first concert ticket to see Bob Dylan live, another experience which shaped his musical path.

How he could he have known at the time he would end up touring extensively with the folk later in life?

Jones has shared the stage with Dylan, Patti Smith, Crowded House, Norah Jones, Keb Mo, Taj Mahal and others, and had played at the Dublin Blues Festival, Byron Bay's Blues Festival and many others across Europe.

Mr Jones said his gig would be opened by local musician Specs Bryant, in what was a reunion as they had gigged before.

"He's a great muso...he's diverse," he said.

Jones was born in London to a Yorkshire mother and a Nigerian father. When pressed for his age, he said he was "20 next week" although records show he was born in 1952.

He moved here with his wife in 1987 and raised four children near Christchurch, although he first toured New Zealand in the early 1980s with Gary McCormick and Hammond Gamble.


It wasn't the first time that Jones had played in Horowhenua. He recalled being in town 18 months ago and performing at Te Takere library in Levin.

"It's another town that likes diverse music, I remember that," he said, having just about seen every nook and cranny from Invercargill to Kerikeri.

"They listen to the songs and dig my style."

Critics have said his "soulful voice, sprightly guitar agility and enthusiasm made this the most inspired any other country he would be an institution".

His unique style was influenced by blues, folk, rock and jazz.

Paul Ubana Jones plays at Western House in Levin on February 7.