Elvin Ray Jones (September 9, 1927 – May 18, 2004) was a jazz drummer of the post-bop era. He showed interest in drums at a young age, watching the circus bands march by his family's home in Pontiac, Michigan.
He served in the United States Army from 1946 to 1949 and subsequently played in a Detroit houseband led by Billy Mitchell. He moved to New York in 1955 and worked as a sideman for Charles Mingus, Teddy Charles, Bud Powell and Miles Davis.
From 1960 to 1966 he was a member of the John Coltrane quartet, a celebrated recording phase, appearing on such albums as A Love Supreme. Following his work with John Coltrane, Jones led several small groups, some under the name The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. He recorded with both of his brothers during his career, jazz musicians Hank Jones and Thad Jones.
Elvin Jones was born in Pontiac, Michigan. By age two he said he knew he held a fascination for drums. He would watch the circus marching band parades go by his home as a boy, particularly fascinated by the drummers. Following his early passion, Elvin joined his high school's black marching band, where he developed his foundation in rudiments. Jones began service in the United States Army in 1946. He was discharged in 1949, and returned home penniless. Jones said he borrowed thirty-five dollars from his sister when he got back to buy his first drumset.
Elvin began his professional career in 1949 with a short-lived gig in Detroit's Grand River Street club. Eventually he went on to play with artists such as Miles Davis and Wardell Gray. In 1955, after a failed audition for the Benny Goodman band, he found work in New York, joining Charles Mingus's band, and releasing a record called J is for Jazz.
Elvin Jones' sense of timing, polyrhythms, dynamics, timbre, and legato phrasing brought the drumset to the foreground. Jones was touted by Life Magazine as "the world's greatest rhythmic drummer", and his free-flowing style was a major influence on many leading rock drummers, including Mitch Mitchell (whom Jimi Hendrix called "my Elvin Jones") and Ginger Baker. He appeared as the villain Job Cain in the 1971 off-beat Western film Zachariah, in which he performed a drum solo after winning a saloon gunfight. In 1999, Jones worked with Our Lady Peace on their album Happiness...Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch. He was featured playing drums on the song "Stealing Babies", which was also featured on their 2009 compilation album The Very Best of Our Lady Peace.
Jones performed and recorded with his own group, the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, whose line up changed through the years. Sonny Fortune and Ravi Coltrane, John Coltrane's son, both played saxophone with the Jazz Machine in the early 1990s, appearing together with Jones on In Europe on Enja Records in 1991. Jones, who taught regularly, often took part in clinics, played in schools, and gave free concerts in prisons. His lessons emphasized music history as well as drumming technique.
Elvin Jones died of heart failure in Englewood, New Jersey on May 18, 2004. He is survived by his first wife Shirley and his second, albeit common-law, wife Keiko (Elvin married Keiko before divorcing Shirley, meaning that legally he and Keiko were not married). Elvin Jones is survived by his son Elvin Nathan Jones of California and daughter Rose-Marie Rosie Nyberg of Sweden.
Elvin Ray Jones (n. Pontiac (Míchigan); 9 de septiembre de 1927 - f. Englewood (Nueva Jersey); 18 de mayo de 2004) fue uno de los bateristas de jazz más influyentes de la era post-bop. Empezó a mostrar interés por la percusión a temprana edad, cuando observaba marchar a las bandas de los circos en su ciudad natal. Sirvió en el Ejército de los Estados Unidos entre 1946 y 1949 y posteriormente tocó en una banda de Detroit liderada por Billy Mitchell (músico). Jones se mudó a Nueva York en 1955 y trabajó como sideman para Charles Mingus, Teddy Charles, Bud Powell y Miles Davis.
Desde 1960 hasta 1966, Jones fue miembro del cuarteto de John Coltrane y participó en la grabación de álbumes como A Love Supreme. Luego de su trabajo con Coltrane, Jones lideró varios grupos pequeños, algunos bajo el nombre de The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. Durante su carrera, Jones grabó con sus dos hermanos, los músicos de jazz Thad Jones y Hank Jones. Al final de su carrera, trabajó con artistas jóvenes de jazz, incluyendo a Bill Frisell.
Jones nació en Pontiac (Míchigan). Desde muy temprana edad sintió fascinación por los tambores. Solía observar las bandas de los circos marchar cerca de su casa cuando era un niño. Guiado por esta pasión, Jones se unió a la banda de marcha de su escuela, donde empezó a desarrollar su conocimiento de los rudimentos. Jones prestó servicio en el Ejército de los Estados Unidos desde 1946 hasta 1949. Regresó a su hogar sin dinero y su hermana le prestó $35 para comprar su primer Batería.
Jones fue nombrado por la revista Life como el "mejor baterista rítmico del mundo". Su estilo fue influyente en varios bateristas de rock, incluyendo a Mitch Mitchell y Ginger Baker. En 1999, Jones trabajó con Our Lady Peace en el álbum Happiness... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch, en el cual tocó la batería en la canción "Stealing Babies."
Elvin Jones murió de una falla cardiaca en Englewood (Nueva Jersey) el 18 de mayo de 2004. Jones estuvo casado en dos ocasiones y tuvo dos hijos: Elvin Nathan y Rose-Marie.