Elvin Jones, a metronome in his blood and hands

The name Elvin Jones is new in the musical realm. The drummer was born in 1927 and raised to a musical family in Pontiac, Michigan.

Elvin Jones
Elvin Jones

Elvin Jones was one of the first musicians to define a drummer’s role and how they are supposed to react. His playing, with a few other changes, defined how to drum player should function, and in the five years-stint he was with the John Coltrane Quartett, he helped shape the industry at large.

There, it is right to say that he dedicated his music years to creating the best music style. Before him, there was not much happening with professional drummers. The few who were there then did not have a lot of ideas.

Perhaps the only things that seemed to work were percussion drumming, which had held roots in many parts of the world. Also, classical music was high in the air, with most activities following a specific set of rules.

Born in a musical family, Elvin understands not just drumming but also the flow of rhythm across genres and styles. Hence, whether it was vocal or instrument, Elvin knew what needs to be done and how it was supposed to be done. It is because of his knowledge that he become a well-sort after performer in the industry.

Elvin Jones On Stage
Elvin Jones On Stage

Needless to say, Elvin was very talented in many ways. He had a way of creating new ideas and incorporating them into his styles for everyone’s benefit. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise that the ideas he created have been emulated even today.

Apart from general music knowledge, Elvin was a gifted drummer. With his creativity, he was able to come up with unique styles that had not been imagined before. He helped define a drummer, and what they should do within a band.

One of the characteristics that impressed many who listened or worked with him was his impeccable timekeeping skills. You did not need a metronome to work with Elvin. It is the drummer’s role to keep time; everyone who performed with Elvin enjoys the free ride of following his lead. It has as though he had some sort of a metronome in his blood and hands.

Besides, he delivered each performance with a tremendous delicacy that left everyone requesting for more. The drummer understands his gear so well it often seemed as though they obeyed and followed his command.

Elvin Jones Drumming
Elvin Jones Drumming

Elvin is mostly remembered for forcing Coltrane into the stratosphere using his elemental power. The helped in the dispersing and displacing of the beat into all four limbs. The style has not been abandoned since, and it is still making the music industry grow.

When the Downbeat interviewed him in 1977, Jones said there was nothing special about timekeeping, only that there are those who can keep it better than others. And it is true there are some people who are more sensitive to pulse.  Hence, the more one is sensitive, the more they can use it. And that is what defined Jones. 

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Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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