Thread: Elvin Jones
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:59 AM
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syoshii syoshii is offline
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Default Re: Elvin Jones

I would recommend Tribute To John Coltrane "A Love Supreme" by Elvin's special quartet featuring Wynton Marsalis (Sony). It was recorded live at PIT INN in Tokyo in 1992 and maybe released only in Japan, but this is the must for Elvin fans! I think this is one of his best performances recorded in his career. I guess you can get it at amazon.com or GEMM.

I saw his performance at the same Jazz club in Tokyo, PIT INN, in January 2004, just 5 months before his death. To tell the truth, it was one of my saddest moment in my life. He became very small and thin. He couldn't walk without assistance, even looked like he needed a great effort just to move his fingers. He managed to sit behind the drum set, helped by his wife Keiko, and started to play. But he couldn't keep the tempo with his high-hat and ride cymbal. I couldn't hear his "roar" at all during his play. When he hit the crash cymbal, the cymbal didn't move at all and instead the stick was almost dropped from his hand. Apparently he was feeling great pain in playing drums. I wanted to shout out "No, Elvin, just go to the hospital right NOW!" He was supposed to perform 2 sets a night, but he could only play one set. Keiko told us that he suffered a serious stroke and fell into critical condition just before his visit to Tokyo, but he insisted to play at PIT INN, where he has been playing in winter every year, so he came over to Tokyo. And after that week's performances (he was to play there for a week) he was going to make more thorough physical examination at a hospital somewhere (she didn't identify it, but probably Kyushu Island, Japan, which is Keiko's birthplace) and spend there for a couple of months. So, after that, he made his last performance at Yoshi's in April.
After his death I heard that Elvin played in London in October 2003 and he was all right then. So I guess he suffered the stroke right after that, probably in November.

I've talked with Elvin a couple of times. He was powerful (I still remember his handshake!), and at the same time very gentle, with a big smile all the time. I miss him very much.
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