Down Beat (p.73) - 3 1/2 stars out of 5 - "In addition to juggling his usual clusters of polyrhythms, Jones strikes some grooves that swing the old-fashioned way.
JazzTimes (p.105) - "Recorded in 1999, when he was at full strength, this was a night for hard blowing at the Blue Note."
Elvin Jones: Elvin Jones; Gene Perla (bass instrument); Darren Barrett, Michael Brecker, Antoine Roney, Robin Eubanks, Carlos McKinney.
Personnel: Elvin Jones (drums); Michael Brecker, Antoine Roney (saxophone); Darren Barrett (trumpet); Robin Eubanks (trombone); Carlos McKinney (piano).
Audio Mixer: Steven Remote.
Liner Note Author: Jeff Levenson.
Recording information: The Blue Note, NY (09/11/1999/09/12/1999).
Editors: Gene Perla; Chris Thorne.
Photographer: John Abbott .
Arranger: Keiko Jones.
This live date, recorded at the Blue Note in 1999 in commemoration of Elvin Jones's 72nd birthday, was one of the drummer's last recorded performances before his death in 2004. Jones's Jazz Machine turns in an exciting program of nervy hard bop, with nods to both the mainstream and the avant garde. The band, comprised of Michael Brecker and Antoine Roney on saxophones, Robin Eubanks on trombone, Darren Barrett on trumpet, Carlos McKinney on piano, and Gene Perla on bass, displays an impressive sense of group interplay, while not skimping on brio in the solos.
The set features two standards, Thelonious Monk's "Straight, No Chaser," and "Body and Soul" (with impressive saxophone work by Brecker and Roney). John Coltrane's beautiful, complex "Wise One" is given a reverential treatment (which takes on a kind of "full circle" resonance, given Jones's career-defining association with the late saxophonist, and the drummer's own impending passing). Jones's drumming--subtle, graceful, yet polyrhythmically challenging--has plenty of room to shine, especially on his own tune "E.J.'s Blues," where he takes an extended solo. THE TRUTH is a fine set of modern jazz, and a fitting tribute to one of the genre's greatest drummers.
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