Don Ellis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Don Ellis Live at Monterey (Don Ellis Orchestra) album cover
4.24 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews | 20% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1966

Songs / Tracks Listing

Introduction by Jimmy Lyons
33 222 1 222
Passacaglia and Fugue (Hank Levy)
Crete Idea
Concerto for Trumpet
Beat Me Daddy, 7 to the Bar
New Nine


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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Don Ellis
quarter-tone trumpet

Saxes & Woodwinds
Ruben Leon - alto sax, soprano sax, flute
Tom Scott - alto sax, saxello, flute
Ira Shulman - tenor sax, alto sax, clarinet
Ron Starr - tenor sax, flute, clarinet
John Magruder - baritone sax, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet

Glenn Stuart
Alan Weight
Ed Warren
Paul Lopez
Bob Harmon
Dave Wells
Ron Myers
Terry Woodson - bass trombone

Dave Mackay - piano, organ
Ray Neapolitan - bass
Frank De La Rosa - bass
Chuck Domanico - bass
Steve Bohannon - drums
Alan Estes - drums
Chino Valdes - congas, bongos

Releases information

"Concerto for Trumpet" was recorded at the Pacific Jazz Festival, 10/18/66 ,the rest of the selections are from Monterey, 9/18/66
(Pacific Jazz ST-20112, © 1966/ CDP 7243 4 94768 2 0, © 1998)
CD reissue adds three previously unissued selections to the program

Thanks to snobb for the addition
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DON ELLIS Live at Monterey (Don Ellis Orchestra) ratings distribution

(5 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(20%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DON ELLIS Live at Monterey (Don Ellis Orchestra) reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by js (Easy Money)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Released in mid 1966, is Don Ellis Orchestra Live at Monterey the first progressive jazz fusion record and/or the first progressive rock album? Could be. After laying dormant as a recording artist for four years, Don Ellis turned the jazz world upside down with this very left coast concert that fused rock energy, odd-metered time signatures from around the world, and a unique take on big band orchestration that threw tradition out the window. Throughout this album/concert we are treated to sounds and genre combinations that will become common place under the guiding hands of King Crimson, Frank Zappa, The Soft Machine, Miles Davis and others, but this was all brand new when Don Ellis took the stage in Monterrey and unleashed his unique musical vision on the world.

The album opens with heavy bowed strings playing an odd-metered grinding diminished scale riff, it's that 'crime-jazz' sound that will be used to great effect by Robert Fripp on tunes like 21st Century Schizoid Man and Pictures of a City. As the horns, percussion and drums build the intensity we are treated to blistering solos on saxophone and trumpet. The second half of side one is taken up by Concerto for Trumpet, a complicated brassy jazz arrangement that enters into proto-psychedelic territory in the middle section when the band drops out and the bass strings play an ominous drone behind a spacey trumpet soliloquy.

Side two opens with Passacaglia and Fugue, a mixture of classical forms with big band swing. Despite the classical pretensions and complicated fugal sections, the band swings hard on this one and features more hot solos on sax and trumpet. This track is probably the closest to big band jazz as it was known at the time. On the other hand, album closer New Nine is probably the furthest. This one is a wild experimental number with many contrasting sections including tense crime-jazz horn build-ups, crazy psychedelic B3 solos, and odd- metered rhythmic breakdowns in which congas and tablas drive frenetic trumpet solos. Very modern and intense, this is a great way to close out this revolutionary concert.

I used to think Don Ellis' old school 'big bandisms' would be a turn off to young folks, but as I notice the rise in popularity of artists such as Mr Bungle and Diablo Swing Orchestra, It seems the lexicon of big band jazz has found a permanent niche in youth culture, and not just in an ironic or kitsch way either. If you like big band prog-rock such as early 70s Frank Zappa, then you will probably enjoy this. Although this was released in 1966, it is one of Ellis' most modern and progressive works, and probably one of the most accessible to a rock fan.


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5 stars An amazingly intimate and accessible recording of this genre-bending modern big band ensemble on a large stage at a large outdoor concert in 1966. Several writers I've come across cite this performance--the Don Ellis Orchestra performance at the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival- -as one that blew pe ... (read more)

Report this review (#911182) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Thursday, February 07, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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