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Elvin Jones: The Company of Thunder

Highlights of the singular drummer's career are represented in this timeline tribute compiled by Ashley Kahn with additional reporting by Nate Chinen

Elvin Jones with Hank Jones, May 2002
Elvin Jones with Joe Henderson and Shirley Horn, 1995
Elvin Jones at the Metropolis Club, New York City, Oct. 9, 1994
Elvin Jones outside the studio after the first take of Ascension, June 28, 1965
Elvin Jones at the Village Vanguard, New York City, 1971
Elvin Jones with Cecil Taylor, June 2000
Elvin Jones with Joe Lovano and Dave Holland, Sept. 1998
Elvin Jones in Paris, 1986
Elvin Jones kit at Avatar Studios, May 2002
Elvin Jones in a Gretsch drum ad, 1958
Elvin Jones with Coltrane in Frankfurt, Germany, 1963

How to properly measure a life in music-by discography, a sum of all performances and recordings? By honors and credits, totaling awards and other merits of distinction? By witness and wake of influence, through testimonials of colleagues and contemporaries?

Elvin Ray Jones, who passed away May 18, 2004, presents a challenge that demands all approaches and pushes for more. What he accomplished in his expansive career-and how he connected with fellow musicians and fans-is well beyond simple measure. In the weeks that followed his death in New York City, there was a wake, a memorial service and a four-day tribute at the Blue Note jazz club. At each, music was played and praise was given to the polyrhythmic upstart, the generous teacher, the father, the husband, the caring bandleader, who spread love and mumbled as he worked the brushes.

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