Re: Elvin Jones
Elvin is without a doubt one of the greats. The most important thing about him is his style: you could come into a recording of Elvin and know within three seconds that it's Elvin Jones on the drums. There are only a few instrumentalists, let alone drummers, that one can say that of. One record that I don't think anyone has mentioned is the Elvin Jones: Live At The Village Vanguard album. They play a 15 minute version of "Mister Jones" on there with Hannibal on trumpet, George Coleman on sax and WIlbur Little on bass and they're just burning!
Oh, as for his gear, here's how his sound progressed: In his earlier days, he had a loosely tuned wooden snare, larger bass drum (20"), and older zildjians. The main things that changed in his sound in his later days were his cymbals (in which he commonly used Istanbul cymbals or newer K's), metal snare instead of wood, an 18" bass drum and tuned it tightly instead of the relatively loosely tuned bass drum of before, and he added more toms and cymbals in general.