256

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

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Elvin Jones Jazz Machine: The Truth: Heard Live at the Blue Note 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 on paying homage to the modal innovations combined with a freer rhythmic sense that stemmed from his time with saxophonist John Coltrane. Jones may be looking back, but when you are listening to a legend, it becomes irrelevant that the music is less about moving forward and more about consolidation and tribute. With a plethora of artists mining this territory on a regular basis, there is something essential about hearing it direct from the source.

It's enlightening to hear Jones' musical companions in a more straightforward context, in particular Eubanks, whose progressive edge is on constant display through his own work and with the Dave Holland Quintet. Listening to Eubanks wind his way through Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser," one is reminded that in order to move forward, one needs to have a firm basis in the tradition. McKinney, a younger player who grabbed attention on saxophonist Kenny Garrett's tour last summer, may forward his own modernist style in other contexts, but here his playing is more directly reverential, showing strong roots in McCoy Tyner. And Brecker, who contributes passionate solos to "Body and Soul" and the traditional piece arranged by Jones' wife, Keiko, "A Lullaby of Itsugo Village," demonstrates his lineage to Coltrane without losing any of his own distinctive personality.

Jones' opening solo on Keiko Jones' "Truth" is nothing short of a sixty-second history lesson, using power, dignity and incredible independence to lead into a modal workout that gives Roney the opportunity to demonstrate his keen sense of thematic development. But the highlight of the set is unquestionably Jones' interpretation of Coltrane's "Wise One," from the classic album Crescent. Perla, a bassist who seems to understand Jones completely and intuitively, draws rich tones out of his instrument during an impressionistic introduction that also features McKinney at his most evocative. On this dark and brooding trio piece, shifting from the rubato introduction into its core as a tender ballad, Jones shows that he's as much a colourist and a textural player as he is a powerful rhythmic force.

The Truth is one of Jones' last recorded performances, certainly his last as a leader. It is a fitting epitaph to an artist who inspired legions of drummers and, with Coltrane, helped push forward the boundaries of modern music. He is missed.

Visit AAJ's Elvin Jones dedication page .

Track Listing: E.J.'s Blues; Straight, No Chaser; Body and Soul; Truth; A Lullaby of Itsugo Village; Wise One; Three Card Molly

Personnel: Elvin Jones (drums), Antoine Roney (saxophone), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Darren Barrett (trumpet), Carlos McKinney (piano), Gene Perla (bass)
With special guest: Michael Brecker (saxophone)

Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Half Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell CD/LP/Track Review Peace and Love: A Tribute to Will Connell
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Oaktree CD/LP/Track Review Oaktree
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Green With Envy CD/LP/Track Review Green With Envy
by James Nadal
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Luma CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read My Foolish Heart CD/LP/Track Review My Foolish Heart
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: March 28, 2017
Read Ha Noi Duo CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Pasar Klewer" CD/LP/Track Review Pasar Klewer
by Dave Wayne
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "Madjafalao" CD/LP/Track Review Madjafalao
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 19, 2017
Read "Out On The Coast" CD/LP/Track Review Out On The Coast
by Joe Gatto
Published: January 17, 2017
Read "Through The Glass" CD/LP/Track Review Through The Glass
by Nicola Negri
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "Right to Love" CD/LP/Track Review Right to Love
by Jim Olin
Published: June 19, 2016
Read "Velcro Bird" CD/LP/Track Review Velcro Bird
by John Eyles
Published: September 19, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!