THOUGHTS BY ELVIN JONES

Elvin Jones has thoughts, opinions, and guide lines by which he governs his life as do we all. The following quotes, compiled by drummer Robert Kaufman, are excerpts from drum clinics and talks with him.

  • The Drummer.s role is to provide a basis for anything that is being played, the mistake that many drummers make is not to keep time when it is needed.
  • A thorough knowledge of any style is a prerequisite.
  • The role of support is an obligation.
  • There is always a demand for a good musician. Not matter what you are playing, make it the Best Thing that ever happened in that style.
  • One of the mistakes of inexperienced drummers is to try too much while not implying time. This, coupled with pyrotechnics injected at the wrong time, is disastrous.
  • One should add to the beauty of a piece rather than detract from it.
  • Learn as many tunes as you possibly can.
  • The ability to draw a tone out of the drums is very difficult but necessary. It depends on your stroke, your ear, your tuning and you.
  • It appears that most great drummers are rudimentally oriented.
  • There must be consistency of time in everything you do.
  • Tuning and dynamics are the ways to validate a good musical idea.
  • Playing should be like walking, it should be a natural function of a life, for a musician.
  • Ideas only have meaning if they are used at the appropriate time in a piece.
  • All rhythms do exist individually, however, it is the putting together and the end result of the combinations which is finally judged.
  • All combinations should result in the projection of one feeling and one rhythm.
  • Playing in free-form requires more discipline than almost anything else.
  • To avoid anything, one must have a detailed knowledge of it.
  • The ability to read music should be acquired by all who consider themselves musicians.
  • The musical content is always more important then the visual.
  • One should explore all the possibilities of a drum set in order to use them musically.
  • One should know one.s capabilities.
  • The condition of the body is a very important factor in playing.
  • A truly creative person never steps on other artists; he adds to their expression.
  • Always listen to everyone, including yourself.
  • All musicians have a responsibility to respond to each other.
  • Brushes are becoming a lost art. Make sure you practice them.
  • No matter how much talent you think you have, develop it.
  • I have so may favorite drummers that I can.t begin to name them.
  • Think of one single line no matter how many things you are playing or hearing.
  • To sustain a tempo in the avant-garde style does not mean to keep a beat but to imply it.
  • One of my main thoughts, as you can tell, is to maintain a consistency of time no matter what I.m playing.
  • One must be flexible within the context of a piece.
  • It appears, as some people have mentioned, that much of my playing is triplet oriented.
  • The connection of logical rhythms phrased to each other is always my aim.
  • Practice as much with your feet as you do with your hands.
  • The most important thing a drummer can do is to keep time.