Elvin Jones

From Academic Kids

Elvin Ray Jones (September 9, 1927 - May 18, 2004) 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 Grey. 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 Jimmy Garrison and McCoy Tyner, and stayed with Coltrane until 1966. Coltrane's music, which became to be highly influential, often found him in long duet passages with the saxophonist. It is widely considered to have re-defined "swing" (the rhythmic feel of jazz) in much the same manner that Louis Armstrong did during the initial stages of jazz's development.

After leaving the Coltrane group, Jones played with Duke Ellington, and eventually formed his own touring group. Jazz Machine, normally a quintet, continued in the same musical direction. His sense of timing, polyrhythms, dynamics, timbre, and legato phrasing--as well as the sheer mass of sound he produced--brought the drumset to the fore. Jones was touted by Life Magazine as "the world's greatest rhythmic drummer", and his free-flowing style was a major influence on many leading rock drummers, inlcuding Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker.

Jones, who taught regularly, often took part in clinics, played in schools, and gave free concerts in prisons. His lessons emphasised music history as well as drumming technique. Elvin Jones died of heart failure in Englewood, New Jersey on May 18, 2004.

Selected Discography

with Sonny Rollins

  • Live At The Village Vanguard
  • East Broadway Rundown

with John Coltrane

  • My Favorite Things
  • Coltrane's Sound
  • Impressions
  • Ole
  • Coltrane Plays The Blues
  • Africa Brass
  • Live At The Village Vanguard
  • Live At Birdland
  • Coltrane
  • A Love Supreme
  • Selflessness Featuring My Favorite Things
  • Ascension
  • Sun Ship
  • Expression
  • First Meditations
  • Meditations

with McCoy Tyner

  • Plays Duke Ellington
  • The Real McCoy
  • "Inception"

with Wayne Shorter

  • Night Dreamer
  • Juju
  • Speak No Evil

As leader

  • Puttin' It Together
  • The Ultimate
  • Polycurrents
  • Coalition
  • Live At The Light House
  • Genesis
  • Heavy Sounds (co-leader with Richard Davis)de:Elvin Jones

fr:Elvin Jones no:Elvin Jones pl:Elvin Jones

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