Elvin Jones

Elvin Ray Jones ( born September 9, 1927 in Pontiac, Michigan, † 18 May, 2004 Englewood, New Jersey) was an American jazz musician and bandleader, best known as the drummer of the John Coltrane Quartet.

Life and work

The African American Jones was born as the youngest of ten children in a family of musicians. Access to jazz music, he got by his brothers Thad Jones, who died in 1986, trumpeter and composer, and the renowned pianist Hank Jones.

Jones began his career in 1955 in Detroit. After a refusal of an application at the Benny Goodman Orchestra in New York, he remained loyal to the city and played with jazz greats such as Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Larry Young, Donald Byrd, Charles Mingus and Charlie Parker. 1960 Jones was eventually hired by Coltrane for his " classic " John Coltrane Quartet, which he remained until 1965. During this time he was instrumental in the emergence of some of the most famous jazz albums, most notably John Coltrane's A Love Supreme. A remarkable Western film Zachariah from the year 1971, he took over the role of the villain Job Cain, and played a drum solo after he had won a duel revolver in a saloon.

After his departure from Coltrane's quartet Jones played for a very short time in Duke Ellington's orchestra and then led his own band in the early 1990s under the name Elvin Jones Jazz Machine became known (including with Stefano Di Battista, Willie Pickens and Ravi Coltrane ). In 1990 he worked on David Murray's album Special Quartet with McCoy Tyner.

In 2003 he received the Jazz Masters Fellowship of the state NEA Foundation.


Elvin Jones is as perfect a stylist in the history of the Jazzdrumming whose influence on subsequent generations of jazz drummers since the 1960s can not be overstated.

In his style merge the different facets. He played with a raw and unbridled energy, but was also a highly sensitive accompanist. These are his unique style with the right hand on the Ridecymbal to vary the traditional swing pattern and phrasing. Elvin Jones played one until the mid- 1950s unheard very wide, casual and airy beat, which he put under several layers of complex, mainly based on triplets polyrhythms on snare drum, bass drum and hi-hat. His solos are very complex and dense and are based on an unusual phrasing with very organic power densities and resolutions. His sound can be described as large, open, rough and warm. Also, his technique began - what independence between hands and feet As - new standards.

Together with the drummers Tony Williams and Paul Motian he is to be among the major innovators of the Jazzdrumming in Modern Jazz.

Elvin Jones died 76 years old after a long illness from a heart attack.

Selected Works

Along with Tommy Flanagan

  • Tommy Flanagan Overseas
  • Special Quartet
  • East Broadway Rundown
  • Plays Duke Ellington
  • The Real McCoy
  • Rip, Rig and Panic
  • Puttin ' It Together
  • The Ultimate
  • Polycurrents
  • Genesis
  • Heavy Sounds ( together with Richard Davis)
  • Live in Europe
  • New York Is Now
  • Love Call