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sad Elvin Jones news

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  • Carl Zimring
    Elvin Jones is one of my favorite drummers, and may be my favorite jazz drummer of all. -cz
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 29, 2004
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      Elvin Jones is one of my favorite drummers, and may be my favorite jazz
      drummer of all. -cz

      > From the latinjazz@... e-group:
      >
      > This might be beyond Latin Jazz, but this is
      > the only egroup that I think might be
      > interested in the description of my
      > experience during a recent 4 days stay in the
      > SF for a meeting. I was able to go to Yoshi's
      > to see Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. I am not
      > that familiar with his work, but knowing he
      > was John Coltrane drummer and more recently
      > worked a lot with Candido with his
      > poly-rhythm stuff that I wanted to check him
      > out. First of all, Yoshi's is a great modern
      > place to see a Jazz band, good acoustics,
      > pretty big as well. The only problem is that
      > it is in the middle of a mall-like complex
      > and after the last set we were stranded,
      > without a cab or even a person to help us out
      > to get back to SF. I tried to ask for somebody
      > at Yoshi's to actually call a cab for us or
      > help us out, and he looked at me like "Are
      > you from another planet?" (and he was the
      > last person there, once he left, we were
      > truly alone). Took us an hour to actually get
      > back to a BART (subway) station to head back
      > to SF. But that is beyond the point.
      >
      > I was really eager to see Elvin Jones,
      > waiting to see the Black Thunder pounding
      > those drums. The scenario was perfect, no
      > mikes over the drums so I though "wow, he can
      > really pound those drums, eh?". Well, the band
      > came out (2 saxes, pianist and bassist) and
      > the place went crazy but...no Elvin...and no
      > Elvin...and no Elvin. After about 5 minutes
      > of constant applause, Elvin Jones came out,
      > couldn't walk and had to be helped by his
      > wife and the band members. We were a group of
      > physicians and nurses and we all looked at
      > each other with the same expression in our
      > faces "he is dying of heart failure". His
      > wife gave him the sticks and the band started
      > playing a bebop-like tune. It was quite an
      > experience seeing him playing that night. The
      > stick in his right hand (hitting the cymbal)
      > kept slipping back and he needed to
      > reposition it. He was certainly off,
      > considering the timing of the tune. I
      > couldn't see his left hand, but I could not
      > hear any beats. Similarly with the hi-hat, I
      > did not hear it all night long. As the
      > performance continued, he looked more
      > ill...in fact, he closed his eyes once, and
      > grabbed his stomach as if he was in pain, and
      > everybody in my group got up because we though
      > that he was going to fall. He finally woke up
      > and continued playing. He took one solo all
      > night long, and basically what he did was to
      > drop the sticks on the drum one at a time, at
      > a very slow speed. He did not have the strengh
      > or energy to lift up the sticks from the drum
      > fast enough. The band sounded great thought.
      > I guess he is like Art Blakey and surrounded
      > himself with the best young players
      > available. The bassist kept the rhythm going
      > all night long, working super hard and the
      > pianist would take very long solos, as both
      > sax players. Elvin could still swing at a
      > very low speed, but was well complemented by
      > the bassist and pianist. At the end of the
      > performance, his wife whose name I couldn't
      > catch, came out and said that Elvin Jones was
      > very ill, dying from heart failure. She also
      > said that he had not eaten anything that day
      > but that she had fired his prior 3 physicians
      > when they said that he was dying and decided
      > to take care of things herself, booking him
      > continuosly until July (she also went on and
      > on talking about medical insurances, doctors,
      > etc) Elvin did not said a word all night long,
      > and I actually wondered if was still coherent
      > enough (which is a common, late event in
      > patients with heart failure). He stayed
      > there, sitting by his drums for about 20
      > minutes after the performance was over. We
      > all gave him a standing ovation, I guess is
      > the way of thanking him for what he has done.
      > He did wave goodby as he was helped out of the
      > stage. We sent him our cards as there are some
      > options for patients with advanced heart
      > failure (which we happen to especialize in
      > our group).
      >
      > I am not sure I can actually describe the
      > feeling I had that night. The music was good,
      > and seeing him on the drums made me happy and
      > sad. Happy because I got to see him before
      > the inevitable. Sad because somebody like him
      > should be at home, spending the last few days
      > of his life surrounded by family and friends.
      > I know he also needs our support (income as
      > his wife put it). I haven't heard anything
      > about his health in the news, and patients
      > with heart failure have good and bad days,
      > but I can actually say that he is in bad
      > shape, weakened by his illness (already
      > cachectic). I will forever have the image of
      > an elderly Elvin Jones playing the drums that
      > night.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Dr. Jazz
    • Wilson, Carl
      That was more than sad - it was a little creepy. I m left feeling unsure whether Jones s wife is doing what he wants her to be doing or whether he s being
      Message 2 of 8 , Apr 29, 2004
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        That was more than sad - it was a little creepy. I'm left feeling unsure whether Jones's wife is doing what he wants her to be doing or whether he's being exploited... What did you think, Carlz?

        carlw
      • Carl Zimring
        --On Thursday, April 29, 2004 4:51 PM -0400 Wilson, Carl ... Hard for me to say, especially since I don t know much about Jones s personality -- might he
        Message 3 of 8 , Apr 29, 2004
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          --On Thursday, April 29, 2004 4:51 PM -0400 "Wilson, Carl"
          <cwilson@...> wrote:

          > That was more than sad - it was a little creepy. I'm left feeling unsure
          > whether Jones's wife is doing what he wants her to be doing or whether
          > he's being exploited... What did you think, Carlz?

          Hard for me to say, especially since I don't know much about Jones's
          personality -- might he want to keep playing until the end and she's doing
          his wishes? I don't know.

          Carl Z.
        • rickkelly1@aol.com
          In a message dated 4/29/2004 6:05:52 PM Central Standard Time, cz28@andrew.cmu.edu writes: Hard for me to say, especially since I don t know much about Jones s
          Message 4 of 8 , Apr 29, 2004
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            In a message dated 4/29/2004 6:05:52 PM Central Standard Time,
            cz28@... writes:
            Hard for me to say, especially since I don't know much about Jones's
            personality -- might he want to keep playing until the end and she's doing
            his wishes? I don't know.


            that was sad, and creepy.....but i'd think that real players want to go out
            playing....
            r


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Wilson, Carl
            ... Even if they aren t physically capable of playing anyway, as the story seemed to say? I know that Keiko, Jones wife, has long been talked and joked about
            Message 5 of 8 , Apr 29, 2004
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              > that was sad, and creepy.....but i'd think that real players
              > want to go out playing....

              Even if they aren't physically capable of playing anyway, as the story seemed to say? I know that Keiko, Jones' wife, has long been talked and joked about as kind of a controlling figure, though maybe that's misogyny, anti-Asian stereotype, etc. It's a curious case.

              Carl, I stole it from the list for my blog, by the way...
            • Carl Zimring
              --On Thursday, April 29, 2004 8:47 PM -0400 Wilson, Carl ... It certainly is curious, but I have no insight into whether she s shoving him up there or if
              Message 6 of 8 , Apr 30, 2004
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                --On Thursday, April 29, 2004 8:47 PM -0400 "Wilson, Carl"
                <cwilson@...> wrote:

                >> that was sad, and creepy.....but i'd think that real players
                >> want to go out playing....
                >
                > Even if they aren't physically capable of playing anyway, as the story
                > seemed to say? I know that Keiko, Jones' wife, has long been talked and
                > joked about as kind of a controlling figure, though maybe that's
                > misogyny, anti-Asian stereotype, etc. It's a curious case.

                It certainly is curious, but I have no insight into whether she's shoving
                him up there or if that's where he wants to be. And if lack of health
                insurance is the reason he's dying on stage, I wish he'd move to your neck
                of the woods and have the government help ease his burden. But maybe he
                wants to go out with his boots on, a la Country Dick Montana.

                (And that will probably be the only time in history that the drummers Elvin
                Jones and Country Dick Montana are compared.)

                > Carl, I stole it from the list for my blog, by the way...

                Speaking of which, that's an appropriate photo of Jones you found.

                Carl Z.
              • rickkelly1@aol.com
                ... i know what you mean....and i really have no business commenting on it because i know precisely NOTHING about it....but the idea that somebody is driving
                Message 7 of 8 , Apr 30, 2004
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                  In a message dated 4/29/2004 8:47:55 PM Eastern Daylight Time, "Wilson, Carl" <cwilson@...> writes:

                  >> that was sad, and creepy.....but i'd think that real players
                  >> want to go out  playing....
                  >
                  >Even if they aren't physically capable of playing anyway, as the story seemed to say? I know that Keiko, Jones' wife, has long been talked and joked about as kind of a controlling figure, though maybe that's misogyny, anti-Asian stereotype, etc. It's a curious case.
                  >



                  i know what you mean....and i really have no business commenting on it because i know precisely NOTHING about it....but the idea that somebody is driving a sick man for a few more bucks before he kicks it is just so sickening that i'd rather guess that he lives to play til the bitter end...
                • Wilson, Carl
                  ... Carlz s point about health insurance is well-taken though. As a Canadian I always forget that factor. carlw
                  Message 8 of 8 , Apr 30, 2004
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                    > i know what you mean....and i really have no business
                    > commenting on it because i know precisely NOTHING about
                    > it....but the idea that somebody is driving a sick man for a
                    > few more bucks before he kicks it is just so sickening that
                    > i'd rather guess that he lives to play til the bitter end...

                    Carlz's point about health insurance is well-taken though. As a Canadian I always forget that factor.

                    carlw
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