Peter King & Alan Skidmore: Forever Elvin

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COMPOSERS: Peter King & Alan Skidmore
LABELS: Miles Music
ALBUM TITLE: Peter King & Alan Skidmore: Forever Elvin
WORKS: Forever Elvin
PERFORMER: Peter King, Alan Skidmore (saxophone), Stephen Melling (piano), Alec Dankworth (bass), Martin Drew (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: MMCD089

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Elvin is, of course, Mr Jones, the drummer most celebrated for his stint with John Coltrane in the early 1960s but who led some fine bands himself. King, Skidmore and Melling all worked with him (I fondly remember hearing Skid jousting with Sonny Fortune in a two-tenor front-line with the band Elvin Jones brought to Ronnie Scott’s in 1986), while Drew (sadly, no longer with us), although stylistically different, regarded Jones as an inspiration.

Each of Jones’s limbs seemed to have a brain of its own, yet those diverse contributions jelled into a coherent whole, much like this band: five highly individual players forming one tight, focused unit. The set opens with a sublime uptempo performance of Trane’s ‘Blues Minor’ and hardly lets up thereafter, only easing back slightly for the ballads, played with passion and conviction. 

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Barry Witherden