Monday, November 15, 2010

Elvin Jones and Gretsch Drums

The Jazz Showcase has been one of the premier Jazz clubs in the Chicago land area for many years. Other clubs have come and gone, but the Showcase rolls on. It was at this club that I heard the great Elvin Jones right after he left the John Coltrane Quartet.

I remember the night quite vividly. My date and I arrived fact we were the only people in the place, outside of the owner. The club, as it were, was really a storefront. The location of the club would move every few months. Sometimes it would stay in one place for a year or more, but then it would move somewhere else. This particular venue was a one off. I never saw anyone else play there and I don't believe it was ever used again.

In any case, Elvin arrived with his wife Keiko and began setting up his drums. He played Gretsch Drums and the kit was a Satin Flame Wrap. I gathered my courage and went up to him, introduced myself and began to chat. What followed was over a hour of conversation involving Gretsch Drums, Coltrane and his new trio. There are no words to describe how I felt. My teacher, Max Mariash, had spoken about Elvin with great admiration and here I was talking to one of the greatest jazz drummers of all time.

The album cover pictured was the first release by the Elvin Jones Trio. That night they played many tunes from this release. Joe Farrell was there, but Jimmy Garrison was not. That night was the start of a love affair with Elvin's playing. Not counting the great Louis Bellson, I saw Elvin Jones play more than any other Jazz Drummer.