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Don Ellis no more gave a damn about the status quo in Jazz than the man in the moon did. He was not so much an iconoclast as a creative, happy-go-lucky creator of interesting music who was not so much out to make a point as to try something new and different and maybe make some descent music at the same time. Koch Jazz and re-released Ellis’ last recording, Live at Montreux, in an expanded edition, including three pieces previously unreleased. Ellis was to die a year later in December 1978 of a failing heart.
Ellis employed a very large orchestra (four reeds, eight brass, one keyboard, two bassists, two drummers, two percussionists, and a string quartet) to perform six of his original compositions that serve as fine vehicles for a series of excellent solos. The main players are trumpeter Ellis, multireedist Ted Nash, and trombonist Alan Kaplan. A great snapshot of edgy ‘70s jazz.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.