Elvin Jones

1927 (Pontiac, Mich.) – 2004 (Englewood, N.J.)

One of the greatest jazz drummers, Jones was influential for his innovative polyrhythmic approach and many collaborations. In early days in Detroit, he played with visiting stars including Davis (who stayed with him), Parker and Stitt. An audition with his hero Goodman was disastrous. He played in Johnson’s band and briefly with Ellington (Williams giving him a hard time), was courted by Gillespie but turned the offer down, and though initially unavailable when the call came from Coltrane, spent five luminous years with him (saying that other than his brothers Hank and Thad, he was the best teacher he’d had).

Elvin Jones knew…