Don Ellis Orchestra: includes: Don Ellis (trumpet); Ron Starr
(tenor saxophone, flute, clarinet); Terry Woodson, Dave Sanchez
(trombone); Mike Lang (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, clavinet); Ray
Neapolitan (sitar, bass); Steve Bohannon (drums); Chino Valdes, Joe
Porcaro, Ralph Humphrey (percussion).
Reissue producer: Donald Elfman.
Recorded on Febrary 14 & 15, 1968. Includes liner notes by
Digby Diehl and Nick Di Scala.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
Personnel: Don Ellis (trumpet); Ray Neapolitan (sitar); Ira
Schulman (flute, piccolo, clarinet, tenor saxophone); John Magruder
(flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Ron Starr
(flute, clarinet, saxophone, tenor saxophone); Joe Roccisano
(flute, clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Ruben Leon,
Joe Lopes (flute, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone); Alan Weight,
Edward Warren , Ed Warren, Bob Harmon, Glenn Stuart (trumpet);
Terry Woodson (trombone, bass trombone); David Sanchez , Ron Myers,
Vince Diaz, David Sanchez (trombone); Michael Lange (piano,
electric piano); Mike Lang (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Clavinet);
Mark Cass Stevens, Ralph Humphrey (vibraphone, timbales,
percussion); Steve Bohannon (drums); Chino Valdes, Carlos "Patato"
Valdes (congas, bongos); Alan Estes (timbales, percussion); Mark
Stevens, Joe Porcaro (percussion).
Audio Remasterer: Rosalind Ilett.
Recording information: Hollywood, CA (02/14/1968/02/15/1968).
Don Ellis was such a talented trumpeter, composer, and organizer
that everything he recorded as a leader has at least some unusual
moments worth exploring. His big bands were characterized by big
brassy arrangements, odd meters that somehow always swung, lots of
trumpet solos by Ellis, and an often visceral excitement. Although
not equal to his best records such as Electric Bath, this late
recording of Ellis' band is filled with all these traits, and thus
exudes lots of excitement and electricity. At this stage in his
career, the trumpeter seemed to be searching for a breakthrough,
perhaps on a popular level. This manifests itself with occasional
Age of Aquarius vocals and spacy harmonies that appeal to a broad
audience. Even the more commercial tracks delight with
unconventional characteristics, despite their somewhat compromising
nature. There is plenty of the "old" Ellis in full view, however,
as the band rocks with its well-known and only half in jest "Beat
Me Daddy, Seven to the Bar." Ellis was an emotionally powerful and
technically proficient player, something that is sometimes
overlooked; his feature on "I Remember Clifford" is a minor tour de
force. The trumpeter wrote regularly for his band, but also
attracted some outstanding composers, such as Hank Levy and Howlett
Smith. While the soloists (other than Ellis, of course) were not
always of the caliber of some of the competition, they were at a
somewhat disadvantage in that they had to learn to play in strange
time signatures -- not an easy task. ~ Steven Loewy