May 21, 2004

Final Resolution for Elvin Jones, Drummer

Elvin Jones, drummer, died this week on Tuesday, May 18, 2004. Sad that the passing of another blues master should be one of the few occasions for getting out the old Prestige and Blue Note sides?

If talking/writing about music is like dancing about architecture, then describing the transcendent drumming of Elvin Jones is the ultimate waltz about the ineffable structure.

From John Fordham's obituary in The Guardian print edition (Thursday, May 20, 2004):

His exclamatory sock-cymbal sound, often played at the turning point of a theme, or at the close, appeared to be struck with a dismissive blow like a boxer's right cross, and would be all the more arresting for its contrast with Jones's demeanor of happiness in his work, smiling fit to bust, unleashing a stream of effusive -- and highly rhythmic -- chortles and grunts, sometimes eyeballing his partners with a baleful amiability from the drum stool...

John Fordham's review from Ronny Scott's (2001) | Guardian Unlimited

One desert-island LP for the plank-walk, it would be John Coltrane's A Love Supreme with Elvin. The disc was recommended to me by Bob Kindred in 1988, when I asked him, "Bob, how do I get started?" My first "jazz" exploration, Supreme took me two years to simply play through in one sitting, and another 15 or so to find out that nothing is even close to this devotional, unearthly work; nor as worth the commitment.

Peter Keepnews' tone-deaf obituary | The New York Times



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