The Don Ellis Orchestra

Live at Monterey

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The first effort by the Don Ellis big band, as with all of his other orchestral projects, has yet to be reissued on CD. One of the most exciting new jazz big bands of the period, Ellis' ensemble became notorious for its ability to play coherently in odd time signatures. One of the four originals heard on this acclaimed outing from the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival is titled "33 222 1 222" to show how the band manages to perform in 19/4 time. The other selections are Hank Levy's "Passacaglia And Fugue," "Concerto For Trumpet" (in 5/4) and "New Nine." In addition to the time signatures, Ellis enjoyed utilizing unusual combinations of instruments; the instrumentation on this date consists of five trumpets, three trombones, five saxes, piano, three bassists, two drummers and a percussionist. Among the more notable sidemen are a young Tom Scott (who solos on alto) and tenor-saxophonist Ira Schulman. Highly recommended but unfortunately this album will be difficult to find.

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