Shortly after Elvin Jones passed in 2004 I was contacted by his wife Keiko. She asked for my help selling the massive arsenal of Elvin’s drum gear they had collected since the early 1970s. The gear was all stored in an empty apartment they kept on a lower floor of their manhattan apartment building.
Included in the collection were 8 complete drums sets, about 20 snares, over 100 cymbals and dozens of Elvin’s stage worn Jazz Machine T-shirts. I’ve spent the last 14 years finding homes for these priceless collectibles. This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve met hundreds of Elvin fans and developed some of the most important relationships in my life as a result of handling Elvin’s drum estate.
The most significant relationship I’ve developed is with Elvin’s wife Keiko. She is a brilliant, wise and fascinating person. She still feels a deep responsibility to Elvin and his fans to make sure his music and legacy are honored and Elvin is remembered as the great human being that he was.
Over the 14 years I’ve known Keiko, she has shared countless Elvin stories. One reoccurring story was about a collection of Elvin’s promotional posters they’d collected in their 30 plus years of touring the world. They came up in conversation many times, but we never discussed them in much detail. Earlier this year, the posters came up again. I eventually purchased the posters along with a forgotten cache of Elvin’s gear that had been stored in a friends garage in New Jersey (more about that soon). The posters arrived in a couple of Elvin’s old Jazz Machine trap cases. There were about 100 unique posters, photos and paintings, many of them with multiples, that Elvin and Keiko personally collected from gigs spanning 4 decades. They were collected from all over Europe, Asia, South America and the US.
It is extraordinary to discover, intact, such an expansive collection. These are not reprints or reproductions. These are original promotional posters personally collected by Elvin at the individual venues where he performed. I still have not decided what exactly to do with the collection. Some of the posters that I have in multiples will be sold on my Donn Bennett dot com website and also on www.DrumSellers.com . I’m currently working on finding a way to display the entire collection. Until then, above are several of my favorites.