Author Topic: Elvin Jones dies at 76  (Read 525 times)

Elvin Jones dies at 76
« on: May 19, 2004, 05:04:01 PM »
How can this not have been mentioned...

U.S. National - AFP
Jazz drummer Elvin Jones dies at 76

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones, who gained world fame with the John Coltrane Quartet in the 1960s and later headed several groups of his own, has died in Manhattan He was 76.

Jones died Tuesday after several months of ailing health, the daily said Wednesday, quoting John DeChristopher, director of artist relations for the Avedis Zildjian Company, maker of Jones' cymbals.

The self-taught drummer continued to perform until a few weeks ago, often taking an oxygen tank onto the bandstand.

Born on September 9, 1927, in Pontiac, Michigan, Jones, the youngest of 10 children grew up in a musical atmosphere. His brother Hank is one of the finest pianists in jazz, and brother Thad became a highly successful trumpet and flugelhorn player, arranger and band leader.

By age 13, Elvin Jones was practicing eight to 10 hours a day, determined to be a drummer. He played drums with local bands before and after his military service and by the early 1950s was playing regularly with small groups.

In the mid 1950s Jones relocated in New York, rapidly establishing himself as a leading exponent of bop drumming, working with several notable musicians including J.J. Johnson, Donald Byrd and Sonny Rollins.

In 1960, he became a member of John Coltrane's quartet, and during the next five years grew into one of the outstanding drummers in jazz history. He also played briefly with Duke Ellington in 1966.

Jones' career after Coltrane was mainly as a leader of small groups, where he was able to exercise full control over the musical policy. He toured ceaselessly for the next three decades, playing clubs, concerts and festivals around the world.

His sidemen have included Joe Farrell, George Coleman and Wilbur Little.

In 1979 he recorded Very R.A.R.E. with Art Pepper and that same year saw the release of a documentary film, Different Drummer: Elvin Jones.

In his expansion of the role of the post-bop jazz drummer, Jones was responsible for a major stylistic shift: he integrated the drums so thoroughly with the improvisations of the front line musicians that the drummer now became their partner on equal terms and not merely the accompanist or pulse provider of previous eras.

The New York Times quoted critic and historian Leonard Feather explaining Jones's significance: "His main achievement was the creation of what might be called a circle of sound, a continuum in which no beat of the bar was necessarily indicated by any specific accent, yet the overall feeling became a tremendously dynamic and rhythmically important part of the whole group."  

One of the worlds best drummers, gone. He needed a thread really.

In case the name isn't familiar, you'll have heard him on the following albums:

And several hundred more incredible jazz albums. A true legend of jazz. This is on the same level as the death of Miles Davis or John Coltrane, I'd say.