This repackage of two of Elvin Jones' Atlantic titles from 1965 and 1967, respectively, reveals something truly unnerving about the drummer before and after his boss, John Coltrane, passed away: that Jones never stopped being a hard bop drummer. On the first date, And Then Again, Jones employs his brothers, Thad and Hank, Charles Davis, Paul Chambers, Hunt Peters, and Art Davis in a program that could have come from the early to mid '60s Blue Note catalog. Horace Silver's funkiness is wedded to knotty, swinging hard bop figures adorned in rhythm by Jones, especially on Davis's "Azan" and Melba Liston's "Len Sirrah." On the latter disc Midnight Walk, Jones hires Thad again, but also employs Dollar Brand, Hank Mobley, Don Moore, and Steve Jams on electric piano. The title track is a shifty little funk number by Arif Mardin with a punchy front line for both trumpet and tenor, accented by the bass with single note runs in the turnarounds. But the high point on the album is Dollar Brand's "Tintiyana," a drawn out modal piece with an ostinato piano section that is heavy on left hand acrobatics before moving the theme and variation into the middle register where it becomes possible for the band to enter into the tune -- almost two minutes in out of six. Once they do, the staccato South African swing that is Brand's trademark becomes the body of the tune: a gentle lyricism with polyrhythmic accents and melodic variations with Jones slipping around the kit as a contrapuntal measure to Brand's pianism. Mobley's solo is dynamite, a picture of pure economic lyricism and taste that gives way to one of Brand's wildest two-hand choral solos in recorded history, inspired by the free dance of Jones rhythmnistry. This makes the disc a real deal in that either of these dates would have been cause for purchase, but, as a two-fer, they are essential.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek