Discussing jazz rhythm sections will give me the opportunity to talk about my favorite jazz drummer, because he was part of two of my favorite jazz rhythm sections. Who is that drummer? He is Elvin Jones, who unfortunately didn't have the public profile of, say, Art Blakey, but was to my ear the most interesting jazz drummer of them all.
I almost forgot I was going to write about the whole rhythm section, not just the drummer. Well, as I usually say, just listen to the records. In this case, I mean Wayne Shorter's 1964 album on the Blue Note label, JuJu. McCoy Tyner, Reggie Workman, and Elvin Jones are the most interesting, fun-to-listen-to backing trio that I can think of. Listen to McCoy and Elvin on Mahjong, Reggie and McCoy on Yes or No, and Elvin on Deluge and, especially, Twelve More Bars to Go. Elvin swings as hard as anyone ever has, but in a way unlike anyone else that I have heard.
By the way (and more about this later), I had never even heard Wayne Shorter outside of Weather Report until I happened to find an album called Wayning Moments at the library. It caused me to seek out other records wtih Shorter as the leader. The two records I found, JuJu and Speak No Evil, are both classics, but are important not just because they mark the emergence of Shorter as an influential composer and performer. They also, I think, mark the emegence of two of the most important jazz pianists after Monk, namely McCoy and Herbie Hancock.
That leads to the other favorite rhythm section I mentioned that included Elvin Jones: Elvin, Ron Carter, and Herbie on Shorter's album Speak No Evil (recorded less than five months after JuJu). Elvin continues to amaze, Ron Carter is also coming into his own at this time, and Herbie is displaying his unique feel that was already showcased on Empyrean Isles (recorded earlier in 1964) and would fully blossom the following year on Maiden Voyage.
that Giant Steps (the whole album, not just the title track), despite being an absolutely unbelievable, groundbreaking, earth-shattering, stupendous performance by Trane, is an amazingly awful recording? The first time I heard it, I actually thought the piano was an electric keyboard. On top of that, the effort to make the recording "stereo" only succeeded in making it unlistenable on headphones, unless you like the feeling that your head is becoming lopsided.
A lawyer who likes to write music commentary.