Friday, October 8, 2021

Klook and Elvin two-fer!

Once again, thank goodness for European film crews! Here's some great footage of Kenny Clark playing with Bud Powell and Clarke Terry in Paris in 1959…..

Up next is some great footage of Elvin Jones playing with the Ellington band… Here's some background info I found…..

It's no secret Elvin Jones played for a minute with Duke Ellington after leaving Coltrane, but this is the first I've ever heard a tape. January 29, 1966.  Ed. note: There's also an audio recording of the whole gig.

Context: Elvin to Whitney Balliett in 1968. (The second drummer Elvin refers to is Skeets Marsh):

"I joined him in Frankfurt, and my stay with him lasted just a week and a half, through Nuremberg and Paris and Italy and Switzerland. I was new. It was difficult for the band to adapt to my style and I had to do everything in a big hurry, trying to adapt to them. Then the bass player started playing games with me by lowering and raising tempos to make it look like I was unsteady, and finally I had to speak to him and he stopped. Hodges and Cat Anderson and Gonsalves and Mercer Ellington knew what was going on, but Duke didn't. And I guess I didn't connect with the anchormen, because they complained about my playing to Duke. I don't know whether Cootie who kept giving me the fisheye, wanted me to call him Mr. Williams and shine his shoes or what. Also, Duke had a second drummer in the band and he was an egomaniac. So Duke and I talked at Orly Aiport and I told him to send a telegram to Sam Woodyard and tell him to get himself over there, because he knew the whole book. I saw Duke later, after he'd found out what had been going on, and everything was fine -- no sweat. He told me I could come back with the band any time I wanted. He's such a great man. Given more time under different circumstances -- being left alone and all -- it might have been a beautiful thing for me."

Regardless of the tension between these individuals, it's great to have a document of this part of Elvin's career.

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