wesbed

Elvin Jones Mosaic

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With the health of Elvin Jones being mentioned recently, I've been reading about the Elvin Jones Mosaic. I found a few posts in this thread. The discography looks interesting. Not much piano. Lots of horns, bass and drums. Some tunes recorded during the fusion period of the the early 70s (1973).

Any new opinions on this set? Things to like? Things to not like?

>Elvin Jones Mosaic<

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Edited by wesbed

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This is one of the first Mosaics I ever bought. Bought it sound unheard. Have never been happier. This is a review of the set that I left on a saxophone forum:

The first order I placed with Mosaic was for the Sam Rivers box set (out of print) and the Elvin Jones 8-CD box set. On the Elvin Jones set you get a trio with EJ, Jimmy Garrison, and Joe Farrell on various woodwinds. The ensembles grow into quartets, quintets, sextets, septets, octets - and so on. There's appearences by keyboardists Chick Corea & Jan Hammer (some synth but not enough to alarm), various guitarists, bassists, brass and percussionists but the best thing about this set is the variety and caliber of woodwind players that make up the ranks. Along with the aforementioned and criminally underated Joe Farrell, there's Pepper Adams, Frank Foster, George Coleman, David Liebman and Steve Grossman. Some tracks have one reed instrument, many have two, and a few have 3 (Farrell, Liebman, Grossman). I've never heard any of these woodwind players perform any better than they do on these recordings (with the exception of Pepper Adams who was always a badass no matter who he played with). The jewel in this crown is the two CD Lighthouse set. You get all of the material from the original LP releases with the exception of the audience singing "Happy Birthday" to EJ (he was 45 that day). The line-up was Grossman and Liebman with Gene Perla (bass) and EJ - there's no piano and it isn't missed - in fact, the absence of a piano frees up the sound a great deal. Liebman's soprano solo on Donald Byrd's "Fancy Free" is absolutely scorching. And the flute work he does on "My Ship" is amazingly fluid and gorgeous. Elvin Jones is underated as a bandleader but after so many years with Coltrane he sure as hell knew how to pick his sax players.

Additionally: The fusion stuff isn't that far out. It's interesting, but I kind of forgot there was an Elvin in there. But we're talking one CD out of eight. The rest of the set is some of the best of its genre.

Now that I think of it, given Elvin Jones' current health, I don't think I could listen to that deleted version of "Happy Birthday" if it were included. This Mosaic has soul.

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On first listens, was not impressed. Luckily, I have come to my senses-peerless performances by a drummer unrivaled (except maybe by Max) in the last several decades. Another "not to be missed" offering from Stamford.

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Most of the Elvin mosaic is highly interesting and entertaining. Can't remember exactly how many original albums it contains (I'm guessing about 9 studio albums, and the two live albums). If I remember right, about 7 of those 9 studio albums are incredible (and only the last two studio dates are somewhat less interesting, and occasionally even cheesy). And the live material is fantastic.

Haven't listened to the Elvin box in quite a while, I should give it a spin this week. The one date with Lee Morgan (in a piano-less context!!) is pretty darn cool.

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Cheesy ???!!! :blink:

Only for diehard mainstream rockheads, I suppose. If you're talking about the album with several percussionists added, it is one of the most interesting experiments in that direction. Perhaps more for us from the brotherhood of rhythm, but not cheesy, for sure.

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Frankly, I haven't listened to discs 5 & 6 from the Elvin box in several years, so my specific memory of them is probably pretty darn foggy. What I do remember is that they were more "commercial"-sounding than anything else on the entire box, particularly disc #6.

Hafta give 'em a spin sometime soon, and see.

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I have very mixed feelings about the Elvin Mosaic set. On the whole it's been a great disappointment to me so far. The only session/album on the box that I like a lot is the one with Lee Morgan and George Coleman ("The Prime Element"?). What one makes of the rest of the box set really depends on what one thinks of the performances by the three main horn players: Joe Farrell, Joe Liebman and Steve Grossman. They're all talented and yet personally I feel they've all done better work elsewhere. Since they are generally playing with Elvin, a bassist and no piano player, there's a very heavy burden placed on them. While this combination sounded great when Elvin was playing with Trane or Sonny Rollins, I don't find that their younger followers (at that time at any rate) were able to sustain interest.

That said, some of the tracks on the box set are more interesting than others and I don't by any means regret having bought it. Especially since the Morgan/Coleman session is not available anywhere else.

Come to think of it, I'd like to see a Conn. or RVG of the Elvin Jones/Lee Morgan album since I think it's a session that should be a lot more well known than it is currently.

Edited by HWright

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Come to think of it, I'd like to see a Conn. or RVG of the Elvin Jones/Lee Morgan album since I think it's a session that should be a lot more well known than it is currently.

I'll second that. It's the most interesting session from the Elvin box, at least in my book.

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Addition to my comments:

The box set may also be too long for its own good and if I have neglected or missed out on some of its goodies it may be because of its rather staggering length.

Edited by HWright

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I ordered my copy of the Elvin Jones Mosaic last night. Today, the timing of my order seems quite ironic.

I saw Elvin only once - at the Artpark Jazz Festival in Lewiston NY.  He was nice enough to sign a copy of A Love Supreme for me.  Very friendly guy.  He put on a great show that night.  I think it's great that he was playing as recently as he was even if he was in rough shape and that the jazz fans who saw him were able to pay tribute to this legend. 

It must have been great for him as he neared the end to know that he was so loved, appreciated and respected.

I picked up the Elvin Jones Mosaic about 6 weeks ago and it's been in heavy rotation ever since.  Great stuff.  Spinning 5/4 thing right now.  That whole disc 4 is a monster.  What a great way to celebrate his life  - boardmembers and fellow jazz fans worldwide are reaching for some Elvin Jones tonight.

For those who don't have the Mosaic, I say fear not the era from which it originates.  There is some absolutely kick-ass stuff in this set.  Superb, creative, intense, rhythmic.  There are a few clunkers as in any complete Mosaic set , but as a set this one is so vastly underrated and overlooked that it's a shame.  Order it tomorrow.

Commemorate Elvin tonight.

Edited by wesbed

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I managed to check out the parts of the box that I didn't hear last week this afternoon. Strange timing. :(

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(From the Artists thread: "BTW, his Vanguard recordings are nice as well. Maybe not as good as his Blue Note trio dates with Joe Farrell (my favorites!), but they are well worth a spin.")

This isn't about the Mosaic set per se, but about the Elvin Jones shows at the Vanguard. I think there is one legitimate release on Enja and then the four Skyscraper albums on Honeydew. I have the first, but haven't tracked down the others yet. First question is if they are legitimate or bootlegs. Second is if 2-4 are worth acquiring. Third, is there anyway to promote the idea that the live sets at the Vanguard become a Mosaic Select -- after all Elvin was technically under contract to BN at the time, right? (just dreaming probably).

Anyway, I do have the Elvin Jones Mosaic and enjoy it greatly. I am about to spin discs 1 and 2.

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I'm listening to Disc I right now. So far, so good!

I got this from Mosaic within 24 hours. How's that for service!

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I received my Elvin Mosaic today. The box is open but I've not yet cracked the seal on the first couple of CDs (I'll be listening to the music in the next couple of minutes). However, the Mosaic manual has lots of nice pictures of Elvin. I especially like the Elvin picture on page #4, beating the drums, smoking the cigarette, and covered in sweat. The manual seems very much of an historical and important document when considering the recent passing of Mr. Jones.

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I received my Elvin Mosaic today. The box is open but I've not yet cracked the seal on the first couple of CDs (I'll be listening to the music in the next couple of minutes). However, the Mosaic manual has lots of nice pictures of Elvin. I especially like the Elvin picture on page #4, beating the drums, smoking the cigarette, and covered in sweat. The manual seems very much of an historical and important document when considering the recent passing of Mr. Jones.

What number is your set?

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What number is your set?

My copy of the Elvin Jones Mosaic is number 2026, delivered to my front door on 5/20/04.

Edited by wesbed

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Damn it all to hell, man. Play, Mr. Elvin, play!

Disk one, so far, with Elvin Jones, Joe Farrell, and Jimmy Garrison. Elvin is right there, as usual, with the comfortably intense drum support. Filling the fore and back grounds with, what sounds like, three times the number of drums he's actually using.

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Mine is #2042.

I'm on disc 4 right now. Getting close to the track that made me want this set (sample available on the Mosaic site), "For All The Other Times."

Don't know what it is about that song - I just can't get enough of it.

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What number is your set?

My copy of the Elvin Jones Mosaic is number 2026.

Mine is 2016 and I picked it up at the PO on 5/7/04.

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Just received my set today too and right now I'm listening to Disc 2, the Lee Morgan session. The number is 2032.

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Why hasn't there been more talk, in general, about Joe Farrell? He simply tears it up on Disk One. Farrell plays tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, even a piccolo (session A). All backed up by Elvin on the drums and Jimmy Garrison on the bass. Farrell is amazing.

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Hmmm... I've been listening to Mosaics and playing on the computer for many hours (about 12 straight hours so far). Yikes.

Maybe I'm starting to 'see things' at this point? I'm looking at the liner notes for the Elvin Jones Mosaic. The Mosaic manual lists set 'K' as containing the tunes The Whims of Bal and The Prime Element. When I look at the back of the CD cover, it lists set 'K' as containing the tunes At This Point in Time and Currents/Pollen. Set 'K' is flip-flopped with set 'M' when comparing the CD notes to the manual. Not a big deal, but a noted Mosaic typo.

Again, I'm a bit cross-eyed at the moment and may be interpreting information incorrectly.

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What number is your set?

# 423, bought in 2000.

Luca

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I gave disc 1 and part of disc 2 a few spins over the weekend and find the music keeps growing on me. Elvin's drumming is intense and mesmerising on some numbers and yet gentle and subtle on others. I'd never noticed Joe Farrell before this, but he is indeed amazing. These are excellent late-60s Blue Note sessions worth listening to many times over.

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I got this set along with the Jazztet set. I have listened to the first 4 discs so far. I must say that I am enjoying this set very much. The trio dates with Joe Farrell are my favs so far, but all of it has been quite enjoyable. The only thing I think I'm not quite warming up to is the extra percussionists on some of the dates. There are congas, tambourines, and other instruments in the background. I ask this...why on earth would ELVIN JONES want to add more percussion to music that has him playing the drums??? The guy fills every space you could possibly imagine, and can make his rhythms sound as dense or as hollow as he wants. If there has been ANY drummer in the entire history of jazz who does NOT need anyone else supporting him percussively, its Emperor Jones. Elvin plays so much drums, that alot of time those conga players make the overall sound seem cluttered. Man, I remember years ago when I first heard Coltrane's "Live at the Village Vanguard" for the first time, I thought there was two drummers!!! Elvin sounds like he has three sets of arms and legs! The last thing he needs is some corny conga playing in the background.

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