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MUSICIAN Born:

Elvin Jones

Elvin Ray Jones was a jazz drummer. He was born in Pontiac, Michigan, the youngest child in a family of ten. His father worked for General Motors. Two of Jones' brothers were also jazz musicians: Hank (piano), and Thad (trumpet/flugelhorn). Elvin began playing professionally in the 1940s, working with the Army Special Services program, Operation Happiness, and in 1949 had a short-lived gig in Detroit's Grand River Street club. Eventually he went on to play with artists such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Wardell Gray. In 1955, after a failed audition for the Benny Goodman band, he found work in New York, joining Charles Mingus's band, and releasing a record called J is for Jazz. In 1960, he joined with the classic John Coltrane Quartet, which also included bassist Jimmy Garrison and pianist McCoy Tyner. Jones and Coltrane often played extended duet passages, both giving and taking energy through their instruments

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists

Read "Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

[The following is a commentary on pianist Richie Beirach's 2020 e-book The Historical Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano: The 10 Essential Players (Conversations between Richie Beirach and Michael Lake), downloadable for free here.] Jazz piano has always garnered (no intended reference to Erroll Garner) special interest among the instruments because it is truly an ...

CTI Records: Ten Tasty Albums With No Added Sugar (Almost)

Read "CTI Records: Ten Tasty Albums  With No Added Sugar (Almost)" reviewed by Chris May

Few jazz producers divide opinion as much as Creed Taylor. He is a hero to many and a villain to as many more. His fans love him for his high production values. His detractors accuse him of dumbing jazz down with excessively sweetened orchestrations and other sales-oriented compromises. Nowhere is the dispute more heated than over ...

NEWS: BIRTHDAY

Jazz Musician of the Day: Elvin Jones

Jazz Musician of the Day: Elvin Jones

All About Jazz is celebrating Elvin Jones' birthday today! Elvin Ray Jones was a jazz drummer. He was born in Pontiac, Michigan, the youngest child in a family of ten. His father worked for General Motors. Two of Jones' brothers were also jazz musicians: Hank (piano), and Thad (trumpet/flugelhorn). Elvin began playing professionally in the 1940s, ...

NEWS: VIDEO / DVD

Thad, Hank and Elvin Jones

Thad, Hank and Elvin Jones

It's not surprising that Thad Jones, Hank Jones and Elvin Jones were jazz musicians. What is astonishing is that all three were exceptional, each with a distinctive and accomplished playing and recording career. By my count, the three brothers recorded together four times, on Keeping Up With the Joneses (1958), Herb Geller's Gypsy (1959) and Elvin ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Rudy Royston: Little Steps, Big Pictures

Read "Rudy Royston: Little Steps, Big Pictures" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Everybody needs a helping hand now and then. Rudy Royston understands that. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused gigs to completely dry up for all musicians, and with that, their main income stream. Yet there are still mortgages, rents and bills to pay, and children to feed. It says something about the precarious finances of a jazz ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Rudy Royston: PaNOptic

Read "PaNOptic" reviewed by Ian Patterson

Record label bosses probably do not hear the words “solo drum album" too often. Or if they do, judging by the paucity of such exemplars on the market, they likely only have to hear the phrase the once. After three impressive albums on Dave Douglas' Greenleaf Music label, to wit, 303 (2014), Rise of Orion (2016) ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Quin Kirchner: The Shadows and The Light

Read "The Shadows and The Light" reviewed by Kevin Press

Add Chicago's Quin Kirchner to the growing list of young jazz artists who've dropped impressive multi-disc releases in recent years. It has become a kind of rite of passage for a new breed of heavy hitters, these double-and triple-album sets. They are not vanity projects. Not the good ones, anyway. They come from deep pools of ...

Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums

Read "Blue Note Records: Lost In Space: 20 Overlooked Classic Albums" reviewed by Chris May

For anyone with a passion for Blue Note, it is hard to conceive of an album that has been “overlooked," let alone twenty of them. For connoisseurs of the most influential label in jazz history, the passion can be all consuming: if a dedicated collector does not have all the albums (yet), he or she will ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Rudy Royston: PaNOptic

Read "PaNOptic" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Like many jazz musicians in 2020, drummer/composer Rudy Royston has felt the direct effects of living in the coronavirus world. The Texas native, now a New Jersey resident, found his streams of income drying up without gigs, but then experienced a fortunate twist of fate that stood him up. Head above water, the artist pays it ...


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