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Mark Stryker

Elvin & Ellington -- there's a tape

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It's no secret Elvin Jones played for a minute with Duke Ellington after leaving Coltrane, but this is the first I've ever heard a tape. January 29, 1966. 

Context: Elvin to Whitney Balliett in 1968. (The second drummer Elvin refers to is Skeets Marsh):

"I joined him in Frankfurt, and my stay with him lasted just a week and a half, through Nuremberg and Paris and Italy and Switzerland. I was new. It was difficult for the band to adapt to my style and I had to do everything in a big hurry, trying to adapt to them. Then the bass player started playing games with me by lowering and raising tempos to make it look like I was unsteady, and finally I had to speak to him and he stopped. Hodges and Cat Anderson and Gonsalves and Mercer Ellington knew what was going on, but Duke didn't. And I guess I didn't connect with the anchormen, because they complained about my playing to Duke. I don't know whether Cootie who kept giving me the fisheye, wanted me to call him Mr. Williams and shine his shoes or what. Also, Duke had a second drummer in the band and he was an egomaniac. So Duke and I talked at Orly Aiport and I told him to send a telegram to Sam Woodyard and tell him to get himself over there, because he knew the whole book. I saw Duke later, after he'd found out what had been going on, and everything was fine -- no sweat. He told me I could come back with the band any time I wanted. He's such a great man. Given more time under different circumstances -- being left alone and all -- it might have been a beautiful thing for me."

 

Edited by Mark Stryker

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they were kind of bastards for messing with elvin though, were they trying to show elvin they they are the real big dawgs of  jazz, not elvin  i mean compared to the duke and johnny hodges et al, elvin was kind of like dave grohl, in a sort of way, 

Edited by chewy-chew-chew-bean-benitez

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Ellington band members did the same thing when Dizzy Gillespie was in the band for a minute. Per Diz, guys in the trumpet section were very "territorial" about their parts. 

I bet the band vets thought Diz was an upstart whippersnapper -- just like they did with Elvin.

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Perhaps of interest, previous thread about Skeets where Elvin is also briefly mentioned: 

 

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1966...was Ellington yet affilated with Norman Granz, and is there even the slightest chance.....

no, right?

That is the most amazing La Plus Belle Africaine ever (I guess it had not yet become Carney's?), at least that I know of. The contingent might not have "dug" Elvin, but they sure as hell were in his pocket with him.

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I wonder if Hank had a similar experience whe he very briefly played w/ them

i changed my mind i think thats awesome they messed with everyone-

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As for Elvin Jones' remembrance that he played with Duke for one week and a half, I am afraid he exaggerated a bit. 

Louis Bellson left the band before Duke and his men started the European tour (first concert in Lisbon, February 23, 1966).

Skeets Marsh was hired to replace Bellson during this European tour, but suddenly Ellington decided to replace him, calling on Elvin Jones to join him for the January 28 Frankfurt concert. 

Ellington then changed his mind, and Jones returned to the US after playing only 4 concerts with the Ellington troupe: Frankfurt (January 28, Jahrhunderthalle), Paris (January 29, Salle Pleyel), Milan (January 30, Teatro Lirico) and Geneva (January 31, Victoria Hall).

Sam Woodyard was brought to Europe for the February 2 Zurich concert (in fact other sources state that he already replaced Jones in the January 31, Geneva concert), and the rest of the tour.

Marsh left the band when it returned to the US, and Woodyard, who was supposed to only be subbing for Bellson, stayed on.

(sources: New DESOR, TDWAW and the DEMS Bulletin)

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Whatever - an easy comparison of Elvin and Sonny Greer (as big band drummers) can be heard on this album:

81P4FtkhF8L._SX522_.jpg

Sonny kicks his ass.

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24 minutes ago, Chuck Nessa said:

Whatever - an easy comparison of Elvin and Sonny Greer (as big band drummers) can be heard on this album:

81P4FtkhF8L._SX522_.jpg

Sonny kicks his ass.

That is an excellent album!

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Ditto!

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