Elvin Jones

It Don't Mean a Thing

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Elvin Jones has participated in many recording sessions through the years, but this CD is one of the most well-rounded sets he has ever led. The lineup of musicians is very impressive: trumpeter Nicholas Payton, Sonny Fortune on tenor and flute, trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, pianist Willie Pickens, bassist Cecil McBee, and vocalist Kevin Mahogany. Everyone plays up to their potential and the material has plenty of variety, ranging from Monk, Ellington, and Strayhorn to a traditional Japanese folk song arranged by Elvin's wife, Keiko ("A Lullaby of Itsugo Village"), two features for Mahogany (a touching version of "Lush Life" and his scat-filled "Bopsy"), and some authentic-sounding R&B (Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come"). Payton, Marsalis, and Fortune are not on every selection, but each have their chance to shine while pianist Willie Pickens is showcased with the trio on a medley of "A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing" and "Ask Me Now." And as for the drummer, there is still no one around who has captured the sound and spirit of Elvin Jones.

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