As a Hollywood film and TV composer, it’s Ron Jones’ job to match music to what’s happening on screen.
Jones, 64, takes that same approach as the music director of Jazz Forest, an innovative jazz ensemble based in Stanwood. Here, he’s also telling a story through his compositions — but when it’s with the band, he’s not shackled to a film.
“With Jazz Forest, I’m doing everything I would with a film score,” Jones said. “I get to choose where I go with it. I can make all the tunes tell a narrative, a story and communicate it. I can take the melody, stretch it and truncate it.”
Jones, of Stanwood, an Emmy-nominated composer whose work can be heard on TV’s “Family Guy” and “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” will direct Jazz Forest at Aug. 15 at the Camano Center on Camano Island.
Jazz Forest, which formed in 2016, performs Jones’ originals and jazz standards, as well as covers of popular songs like The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair.”
Some of the band’s members have also worked in Hollywood, including saxophonist Pete Christlieb, who recorded with many top jazz and rock musicians and also was a member of the Tonight Show Band for 20 years during the Johnny Carson era.
Jones also founded the Influence Jazz Orchestra in the late 2000s, which featured some of the best session and recording musicians in Los Angeles. Seth McFarlane, the creator of “Family Guy,” would often sing with the band.
But Jones said Jazz Forest is more meaningful to him.
“I’m really trying to make a statement of what my life work has been,” Jones said.
The band’s performances feature what Jones calls “cinematic jazz,” a fusion of film scoring and live performance. For example, Jones’ original songs have a Pacific Northwest vibe — such as “Come Rain or Come Shine” or “North by Freaking West” — and are performed while a wilderness montage plays on screen.
“We want people to be immersed in the front row,” Jones said. “I want them to feel like they’re in a forest.”
Jones got the idea when conducting the soundtrack for “Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage” with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London three years ago. “Star Trek” footage from the past 50 years was played on a 40-foot wide screen while the orchestra played.
“I wanted to replicate that idea of music to picture,” Jones said. “We’ve been building that capability.”
Each performance, set up with state-of-the-art sound equipment from Jones’ own studio, treats the audience to an audio experience akin to sitting in on a recording session.
“We get a lot of seniors, and they say that it’s the most amazing sound,” he said. “They say, ‘It filled the room beautifully.’ ”
Jones also likes to add animation — a raccoon playing drums, a deer playing bass — to the Jazz Forest films. The animal musicians mimic what the band is playing.
“I’m not an animator, but I guess doing 40 years of animations sort of rubs off on you,” he said.
Mark your calendars: Jones also is excited for the band’s Sept. 22 performance at the Northwest Music Hall at the Everett Mall because they’ll get to project their film pairings on a motion picture-size screen.
Evan Thompson: 360-544-2999, firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @evanthompson_1.
If you go
What: Jazz Forest under the direction of Ron Jones
Where: Camano Center, 606 Arrowhead Road, Camano Island
When: 7 p.m. Aug. 15
More: 360-387-0222 or www.jazzforest.com