As his nickname implies, Thomas “Bones” Malone specializes on the trombone, but also plays trumpet, tuba, various saxophones, clarinets, flutes, piccolo, and other instruments. He is famous for being a member of The Blues Brothers Band, Saturday Night Live Band, and a member of the CBS Orchestra, the house band for the Late Show with David Letterman.
He began playing professionally as lead trumpet with Brenda Lee at a club in Jackson, Mississippi while enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi. In response to a call from Warren Covington, leader of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, he expanded into contracting musicians. After transferring to North Texas State University, Malone continued working as both a player and a contractor for a variety of groups.
Upon graduation, Malone worked in bands of Woody Herman (1969), Duke Pearson (1970), Louie Bellson (1971), Doc Severinsen, Frank Zappa (1972) and Blood, Sweat & Tears (1973). In 1973, Malone began a close, 15-year association with Gil Evans, who exerted considerable musical influence on him. With Evans, Malone recorded seven albums and toured Europe, Japan and, the Far East. In 1975, Malone toured with Billy Cobham, in 1976 with the Band.
After he was heard performing with Ten Wheel Drive and Genya Ravan, he received a call from Saturday Night Live (SNL), a new and revolutionary, late-night comedy show on NBC. Malone arranged for the show from 1975 to 1985 and served as musical director from 1981 to 1985. A single SNL comedy skit which featured John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd mushroomed into The Blues Brothers; Malone wrote the chart for that first skit, then continued as an integral member of the Blues Brothers musical organization. His writing and performance may be found on all Blues Brothers recordings and in The Blues Brothers film score. In the movie, he appears as a fictionalized version of himself. In 1997, Blues Brothers 2000 and the film score includes considerable contribution by Malone.
Malone joined the CBS Orchestra on November 1, 1993, and has contributed more than 1,600 arrangements to the Late Show with David Letterman.
As a studio musician, he has been heard on more than 1,000 records, more than 3000 radio and television commercials and over 4,000 live television shows. Malone has also played themes for CBS This Morning, Murder, She Wrote and the 1992 Winter Olympics, all on the CBS Television Network. His solo album, Soul Bones, features guest appearances by Paul Shaffer and Blues Traveler’s John Popper.
Malone’s additional feature film credits include The Last Waltz, Blues Brothers 2000 and Sister Act.
Malone has performed, recorded and/or arranged for the following artists and bands: Aerosmith, Average White Band, Al Jarreau, Aretha Franklin, Ashford & Simpson, Al Green, Baja Men, The Band, B B King, Barry Manilow, The Bee Gees, Ben E. King, Bette Midler, Billy Cobham, Billy Joel, Billy Preston, B. J. Thomas, Blood Sweat & Tears, Blues Traveler, Bobby Bland, Bon Jovi, Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie Tyler, Boz Skaggs, Brenda Lee, Bruce Springsteen, Buddy Rich, Busta Rhymes, Cab Calloway, Carly Simon, Carmen McRae, Chaka Kahn, Chuck Berry, Chuck Mangione, Clint Black, The Coasters, Coolio, Count Basie, Cyndi Lauper, David Bowie, David Byrne, David Sanborn, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Dr. Buzzard’s Savannah Band, Dr. John, Dreamgirls, Eddie Floyd, Eddie Harris, Elephant’s Memory, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Etta James, Faith Hill, 50 Cent, Four Tops, Frank Zappa, Frankie Valli, Garth Brooks, Gato Barbieri, George Benson, Gil Evans, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Glen Campbell, Gloria Estefan, Gloria Gayner, Gypsy Kings, Hank Crawford, Hanson, Harry Connick,Jr., Herbie Mann, Hubert Laws, Instant Funk, J Giels Band, James Brown, James Ingram, James Taylor, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Cliff, Jimmy Page, Joe Cocker, Joe Jackson, Joe Pesche, John Mayer, Johnny Taylor, Jon Secada, Jose Feliciano, Joss Stone, The Killers, Leo Sayer, Les & Larry Elgart, Levon Helm, Little Anthony & The Imperials, Little Milton, Little Richard, Liza Minelli, Lou Rawls, Lou Reed, Louis Bellson, Luther Vandross, Lyle Lovett, Macy Grey, Malo, Mandrill, Mary J. Blige, Marvin Gaye, Meatloaf, Meco, The Meters, Miles Davis, Mongo Santamaria, N Sync, Nancy Wilson, Neville Brothers, O’Jay’s, Olivia Newton-John, Pat Metheny, Paul Simon, Peggy Lee, Peter Frampton, Phil Collins, Phil Woods, Phoebe Snow, Pink Floyd, Pointer Sisters, Randy Newman, Ray Charles, Ringo Starr, Robert Plant, Ron Carter, Rupert Holmes, Sam & Dave, Samantha Sang, Sheena Easton, Shirley Bassey, Sinead O’Conner, Sister Act, Solomon Burke, Snoop Dog, The Spinners, Spyro Gyra, Stanley Clark, Stanley Turrentine, Stephanie Mills, Steely Dan, Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder, Sting, Stuff, The Stylistics, The Supremes, Teddy Pendergrass, The Temptations, Tina Turner, Tom Petty, Toni Braxton, Tony Bennett, Van McCoy, Van Morrison, Vicki Sue Robinson, Village People, Vince Gill, Whitney Houston, Willie Nelson, Wilson Pickett, Woody Herman, Yes, and many others.