Don Ellis / Don Ellis Quintet

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On this 1961 quintet set for Prestige (with vibraphonist Al Francis, pianist Jaki Byard, bassist Ron Carter, and drummer Charlie Persip), Don Ellis experiments with time, new chord structures, and free improvisation; a highlight is his brief unaccompanied workout on the free-form "Solo." Ellis, who switches to piano during part of "Tragedy," already had a sound of his own, although he would change the direction of his music within a few years. Even over 40 years later, his thoughtful musical experiments of the early '60s are often quite fascinating to hear.

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