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Melvin Jones: Pivot

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Melvin Jones offers a variety of musical styles on Pivot, with a selection of modern romp and simmering ballads on this very impressive debut as a leader. For the trumpeter, “pivot" is the defining moment--indeed the turning point--in which different genres come together in one special album. Jones contributes the majority of this thirteen-piece, nearly all original repertoire, borrowing a few charts from Atlanta saxophonist Mace Hibbard and pianist Louis Heriveaux. No novice in the world of jazz, the Atlanta-based Jones has performed with the likes of Don Braden, Clark Terry,, Terence Blanchard, Carmen Lundy and Freddy Cole--the ...


Elvin Jones Jazz Machine

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Elvin JonesElvin Jones Jazz Machine View Video 2009

Elvin Jones may have established himself as one of the greatest drummers of all time, but equally important to him was his nurturing of young musicians. His Jazz Machine opened the door to several upcoming musicians, including Delfeayo Marsalis, Antoine Roney and Ravi Coltrane. He characteristically took delight in their playing, thus forging an empathic bond. His attitude also served to enrich the music of the band.

The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine toured Europe in 1991 with Sonny Fortune (tenor saxophone, flute). ...


Elvin Jones: Jazz Machine

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Elvin Jones Jazz Machine View Video 2008

Some might argue that Elvin Jones was, along with Art Blakey, one of the top two hard bop jazz drummers of all time. In the '60s, he cemented his legend on numerous John Coltrane recordings and performances and what might be Jones' most-underrated work also emerged during that decade: trios and quartets under the leadership of guitarist Grant Green featuring organist Larry Young and a trio led by Jones with reedman Joe Farrell and fellow Coltrane alum Jimmy Garrison on bass. In ...


Rhapsody Films Double Feature: Elvin Jones and Jaki Byard

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Rhapsody Films Double Feature: Jaki Byard - Anything for Jazz (1980) Elvin Jones - Different Drummer (1979) Rhapsody Films 2004

As part of its ongoing reissue of classic jazz titles on DVD, Bruce Ricker pairs two documentaries - Ed Gray's '79 Elvin Jones film, Different Drummer , with Dan Algrant's '80 piece on pianist Jaki Byard, Anything for Jazz. An interesting pairing, given Jones' influential stature in the jazz world, and Byard's sadly more overlooked contribution. Both documentaries paint compelling portraits, mostly in the artists' own words, with bassist Ron Carter providing ...


Elvin Jones Jazz Machine: The Truth: Heard Live at the Blue Note

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Recorded five years before his passing earlier this year, The Truth: Heard Live at the Blue Note paints a picture of Elvin Jones before ill health weakened his powerful and individual style. With an expanded version of his Jazz Machine that includes saxophonist Antoine Roney, trombonist Robin Eubanks, trumpeter Darren Barrett, pianist Carlos McKinney, long-time musical companion and bassist Gene Perla, and guest saxophonist Michael Brecker on two tracks, Jones' signature polyrhythmic approach and muscular sound are in full evidence.

Combining a couple of standards with original compositions and one significant nod to his former employer, Jones seems most intent ...


Elvin Jones 1927-2004: A True Moment In Time

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Elvin Jones, one of the most influential and accomplished drummers in history, passed away Tuesday May 18 due to heart failure. Most notable for his work with John Coltrane, he helped to revolutionize the way jazz and contemporary music are heard and played. Described by Louie Bellson as “Mother Earth coming alive with syncopation," there isn't a drummer today in the world of jazz and contemporary music that hasn't felt his influence. Born on September 9, 1927, the youngest of ten children, Jones came from a musical family that included brothers Hank and Thad, pianist and trumpet ...


Good-bye, Elvin

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On May 18, 2004 the world lost perhaps the most influential drummer of all time, Elvin Jones . He happened to be one of my heroes. Incredibly muscular and robust most of his life, Elvin succumbed to chronic heart failure. For those of us who knew him, it seemed inconceivable that he could become as frail as he was described near the end of life.The youngest of ten, Elvin was born in Pontiac, Michigan, growing up in a musical household where two of his brothers, pianist Hank and trumpeter Thad, also were destined for greatness. As a child ...


Elvin Jones: In Memoriam

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Elvin Jones: September 9, 1927 - May 18, 2004

AAJ pays special tribute to the life and legacy of drummer Elvin Jones...

“I feel very, very gratified when people are complimentary to what I have done or appreciated it with sincerity... It makes me feel that maybe I did do something that was proper and that was right."

~ Elvin Jones

The heaviest cat I ever knew... no question. He was way beyond the music--he really knew the deal! What a life he lived and what he gave to the world!!

~ Dave Liebman (on Elvin Jones)

Articles & Links ...


Happy Birthday Elvin Jones!

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Legendary drummer Elvin Jones is turning 75 on September 9th, and to celebrate the occasion Jones is performing at the Blue Note for two weeks. The celebration kicks off on Jones' birthday, and that night Jones' group, the Jazz Machine, will perform with special guest Wynton Marsalis.

Jones' relationship with Marsalis goes back many years. “Wynton's a good friend. I first saw him and his brother Branford when they were playing with Art Blakey at a jazz festival in Florida. Later I got a chance to meet them, and so we became connected in that way. Then they had their ...


Coda For Elvin

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Coda: a musical passage used to conclude a movement.

It had been over 40 years since I'd seen Elvin Jones in person. Now here he was at 72-plus years of age, appearing with his Jazz Machine at the Regattabar in Cambridge, Mass., an exquisitely intimate room with a sound just perfect for acoustic jazz. Outside a March rainstorm swept the streets and tapped staccato notes on the windows. As the place began to fill up, I estimated that at least one-third of the people there were drummers. I deduced this from the fact that just about every third ...


Elvin Jones: Drumming Icon is Still Cooking

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The name Elvin Jones conjures up a distinct image right away. You can see him seated behind his drum set, slightly hunched, arms awhirl; cranking out a firestorm of rhythms highlighted by crackling accents that fall at unexpected moments, giving the music just the right propulsion.He's been one of jazz music's preeminent drummers for years and years, playing with all the greats. For decades now, he's led his own bands, as well as graced the albums of numerous others, but many still see him as THE DRUMMER in the great John Coltrane quartet of the 1960s. Hell, it ...


Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones: Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones

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The mere fact that legendary drummer, Elvin Jones, and bassist Dave Holland are backing guitarist, Bill Frisell makes for an interesting proposition. However, those familiar with Jones and Holland should be aware of their respective faculties as artists who have performed with the creme de al creme of jazz, as their resumes and legacies are well documented. With this release, the rhythm sections' charter is seemingly fabricated upon delving into the leader's musical mindset, and highly individualistic style.

On the opener “Outlaws," the trio revels in a lightly swinging, blues based romp based upon the guitarist's multi-tracked acoustic/electric guitar performances. ...


Cecil Taylor, Dewey Redman, Elvin Jones: Momentum Space

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Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane emerged as the leading voices of the new music forty years ago. Each created from a separate vision that went beyond their predecessors. Coltrane and Taylor made a record together ( Coltrane Time, United Artists). Coleman ( New York Is Now, Blue Note), and Coltrane ( The Avante Garde, Atlantic) recorded with each others' rhythm sections but there was not enough common ground for them to play together effectively. Each required collaborating musicians to spend months or years with them to bring the music off at the highest level.

Momentum Space was issued ...


Elvin Jones: The Complete Blue Note Elvin Jones Sessions

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Although Mosaic’s methods for rediscovering neglected artists have always been informed, this package of diverse material seems to be especially constructive in giving us a better picture of one of the jazz world’s most innovative and important artists of the 20th century. While Jones had made a few of his own recordings as a leader during his tenure with the John Coltrane Quartet (most notably Elvin! for Riverside and Illumination! for Impulse), it wasn’t until he broke rank with the saxophonist and signed a deal with Blue Note that the fine points of his own musical sensibilities would come to ...

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