Elvin Jones died 18 May 2004.
click here to read an obituary

 

For many, Elvin (Ray) Jones will always be best remembered for the crucial role he played as the drummer in saxophonist John Coltrane's "classic" quartet of the 1960s. With his quartet consisting of Elvin Jones bassist Jimmy Garrison and pianist McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane became the dominant force in Jazz in the early 60s and the foundation for modern Jazz. Known for his swinging, polyrhythmic style that built on the fiery bop innovations of Max Roach, Kenny Clarke and, especially, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones used all four of his limbs, seemingly independently, many times "conversing" with the main improviser. This style suited him well, not only when playing with a master improviser like Coltrane, but with any number of jazz greats along the way. Born in Pontiac, Mich., on Sept. 9, 1927, Jones was the youngest of one of jazz's great musical families, which included brothers Thad (cornetist/band leader) and Hank (pianist). His start with local bands and army military bands led to work as the house drummer at the Bluebird Club in Detroit, where he got his first real exposure to national talents. In 1956, Jones moved to New York, where he began his playing and recording career with, among many others, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Donald Byrd and Bud Powell. He quickly established himself as a leading bop drummer and, in 1960 began his association with Coltrane, which was to last 5 years and which made him into one of the outstanding drummers in Jazz history. After his stint with Coltrane, Jones pursued his own career as a leader, working with artists such as George Coleman, Joe Farrell, Dave Liebman, Frank Foster, Art Pepper and more recently, with many of jazz's younger stars like Delfeayo Marsalis and Nicholas Payton.

 

Go to Elvin Jones' page at emusic for free MP3 downloads

 

 
Recommended Recordings
Elvin ! OJC
Earth Jones Quicksilver
And then Again / Midnight Walk Collectables
After the Rain (John McLaughlin) Polygram Records
Bill Frisell with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones Nonesuch
A Night At The Village Vanguard (with Sonny Rollins) Blue note
Coltrane Impulse !
A Love Supreme Impulse!
It don't mean a thing Enja
Love and Peace Evidence
Live at the Lighthouse Blue Note
Illumination Impulse!
Philly Joe's Beat / Philly Joe & Elvin Collectables