September 9th is the birthday of the great Elvin Jones, so today I’ll list a great combination interview and retrospective piece (Jones had just passed earlier that May) originally published in the August/September 2004 issue of DRUM! Magazine by Robert Doerschuk, with the original interview by Mike Sherpa.
Early in the interview, the legendary drummer talks about his two famous older brothers:
“From 13 to maybe 21 I didn’t even see them,” Elvin says. “Hank would go out with his trios and with Ella Fitzgerald, Jazz At The Philharmonic, and all of that. Thad was out in the Southwest, in Oklahoma and Missouri and Kansas, places like that, working with what they used to term ’territory bands.’ When he came home, of course, I thought he was an accomplished musician. He could do a lot of things that I’d heard Dizzy Gillespie do and all the things I’d heard Miles Davis do — and I thought he did them twice as good. He knew a lot about harmony, so he was a great arranger. When he was with Basie, for instance, he could do arrangements on the bus without benefit of a piano or anything else, and all of his music was extremely accurate — hardly any corrections. He was able to unleash his talent and do what he desired.”