Elvin Jones' Jazz Machine performs in a 1991 concert at Theaterhaus in Stuttgart on this DVD, with a band consisting of veteran tenor saxophonist Sonny Fortune, Chicago pianist Willie Pickens, bassist Chip Jackson, and 25-year-old Ravi Coltrane near the beginning of his professional jazz career. This tour marked the first recording date led by Jones in six years, though he is still full of energy and driving his players to their best. Fortune, who had worked extensively with the drummer, is the star soloist as he is the most adventurous, playing tenor sax and flute. Although the younger Coltrane is more reserved as a player (particularly on soprano sax on the first two songs), his maturity and inventiveness are easily appreciated. Pickens is a talented veteran who is deserving of wider recognition, while Jackson is not only up to the demands of this fiery post-bop group, but also contributed the bluesy opener, "Is There a Jackson in the House?" The hour-long set consists of just three selections played by the quintet, but each of the three extended performances is a treat, highlighted by the explosive "Doll of the Bride," a wild reworking of a Japanese folk song. The audio, video, and editing throughout this concert is first-rate.
Jazz Machine [Video/DVD] Review
by Ken Dryden