Growing up in Pontiac, Michigan, young Elvin Jones was drawn to the percussion of the circus bands that marched past his family home. Following those beats became a lifetime calling that led him to music immortality.

On Oct. 26, the Mystic Order of the Jazz Obsessed (MOJO) will salute the titan of modern drumming in its monthly Jazz Jambalaya series. The show at Gulf City Lodge (601 State St.) begins at 6:30 p.m.

Following a stint in the U.S. Army from 1946-49, Jones joined a band in Detroit. Ready for greater opportunity, he moved to New York City in 1955 where he played with giants like Charles Mingus, Teddy Charles, Bud Powell and Miles Davis.

However, it was the period 1960-66 that became the defining period of his career. Jones’ work on such hallmark albums as Davis’ “Sketches of Spain,” Wayne Shorter’s “JuJu” and “Speak No Evil,” and John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things,” “Live at the Village Vanguard,” “Impressions” and “A Love Supreme” put him in rarefied territory among American musicians.

After leaving Coltrane’s combo, Jones continued work as a bandleader and exalted sideman who established an unparalleled reputation for innovation, power and polyrhythmic exploration. Life Magazine called him “the world’s greatest rhythmic drummer” and popular musicians like Mitch Mitchell and Ginger Baker cited his influence.

Jones was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1995. He died in 2004.

Local percussion icon John Milham will headline the MOJO show. Completing the combo are keyboardist Chris Spies, New Orleans bassist Chris Severin and saxophonist Blake Nolte. Word has it legendary Mobile guitarist Rick Hirsch will sit in for selected numbers.

Entrance is $12, $10 for students and $8 for MOJO members. A light jambalaya dinner is included and a cash bar is available.

MOJO will also be accepting nonperishable canned goods as part of its holiday food drive for the Prodisee Pantry.

For more info, call 251-459-2298, email or go to

Poe at the Playhouse for Halloween
America’s most delightfully haunted season didn’t become widespread until nearly the 20th century but its roots were penetrating the culture even earlier. It was 1809 when its patron literary saint entered the world and within a half-century he became the embodiment of the mood that would later emerge through jack-o’-lanterns and ghost tales.

Edgar Allan Poe moved from New England to the mid-Atlantic, where he became the nation’s leading writer of Gothic Romanticism with stories and poems laden with mystery and the macabre. Works like “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee,” “Lenore,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “The Pit and the Pendulum” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” furthered the American horror genre like no writer before him.
Now, Playhouse in the Park alumnus Jonathan Olensky has penned a play for ages 13 and up devoted to this genius and the season, perfect for the mood he cast. The namesake work “Edgar Allan Poe” will occupy the Playhouse stage the last two weeks of October.

Student shows will occur Oct. 22, 23, 29 and 30 at 9, 10:15 and 11:30 a.m. Student tickets are $8 with teachers admitted free. Call 251-422-0079 for reservations.

Public shows will be Oct. 23, 24, 30 and 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15, $12 for students and seniors. Call 251-602-0630 for reservations.

JJP offers workshop and play
Joe Jefferson Players (JJP) are bringing more than performances to Mobilians this autumn. A pair of activities should keep the institution at 11 S. Carlen St. humming until nearly Thanksgiving.

The first opportunity is a workshop for aspiring voice-over performers on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 10 a.m. until noon. The JJP’s Board of Directors organized the event for the Mobile artistic community.

The workshop is to be conducted by Stephen James, executive director of Pink Hat Productions, owner/president of New Orleans Voice Agency and founder/president of The NOLA Voice Talent Foundation, a nonprofit organization providing educational resources for performers, actors and voice talent.

Workshop fee is $50 but seating is limited. A portion of proceeds will go to support JJP. There are no refunds, although you may sell or transfer your tickets to others.

For tickets, go to You can also contact Stephanie Stockwell Ward at and use the subject title “Voice-over Workshop.”

Then, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 15, JJP will present the award-winning comedy “Vanya & Sonya & Misha & Spike.” It is the play’s Mobile premiere.

Mined from the rich vein of sibling rivalry, the story is inspired by the works of Anton Chekhov. Its 17-week Broadway run earned it six Tony Award nominations and it took home the 2013 prize for Best Play. It also garnered a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play and a 2013 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.

Friday and Saturday shows are at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors and military and $10 for students.

The Oct. 31 performance carries a special element as JJP encourages attendees to wear Halloween costumes. Not only will the seasonal attire earn you $5 off the ticket price but there’s a contest at intermission with first-, second- and third-place prizes for men and women.

The Playhouse is also welcoming neighbors who want to trick or treat in front of the building at 6 p.m. There will also be a photo booth/selfie station on premises.