Elvin Jones

The Truth: Heard Live at the Blue Note

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This 1999 live set features the great drummer Elvin Jones leading an all-star group. The repertoire, comprised of three jazz standards (including John Coltrane's lesser-known "Wise One"), three originals and an adaptation of a folk song, generally featuring one or two soloists on each cut. The straight-ahead and basic "E.J.'s Blues" has spots for trumpeter Darren Barrett (who sounds a bit like Freddie Hubbard) and Jones, while "Straight No Chaser" puts the spotlight on trombonist Robin Eubanks (in a J.J. Johnson mood), pianist Carlos McKinney and the drummer. Michael Brecker is very restrained on "Body and Soul" while "Truth" is a modal piece that has Antoine Roney on soprano sounding a bit like Coltrane. Brecker stretches himself much more on "A Lullaby of Itsugo Village," McKinney is showcased with the trio on an episodic "Wise One," and the closing "Three Card Molly" has contributions from Barrett and Jones. All of the musicians are in top form and were clearly inspired to be playing with Elvin Jones. Although falling short of being a classic, this set has many bright moments.

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