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Don Ellis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Don Ellis Live at Monterey (Don Ellis Orchestra) album cover
4.40 | 10 ratings | 2 reviews | 40% 5 stars

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Live, released in 1967

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A:
1. 33 222 1 222 (9:50)
2. Concerto for Trumpet (11:50)
Side B:
1. Passacaglia and Fugue (Hank Levy) (6:20)
2. New Nine (11:18)

On 1988 CD Reissue:
1. Introduction By Jimmy Lyons (1:18)
2. 33 222 1 222 (9:51)
3. Passacaglia And Fugue (6:13)
4. Crete Idea (6:14)
5. Concerto For Trumpet (11:48)
6. 27/16 (6:01)
7. Beat Me Daddy, 7 To The Bar (8:24)
8. New Nine (11:18)

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
and to BrufordFreak for the last updates
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DON ELLIS Live at Monterey (Don Ellis Orchestra) ratings distribution

(10 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(40%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(20%)
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 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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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 people away, and inspired many, many musician-performers into wildly radical changes to their approaches to music and performance. Reputedly, Don Ellis never wrote or played a song in straight time (4/4) and this is certainly true for this concert. At Monterey Ellis was expressing his recent enchantment/obsession with Eastern musics, particularly Indian. In my own journey to become familiar with this album I have been intensely aware of the rhythm section. The three bassists, the three drummers and the handful of percussionists on stage during the performance are all impressively tight and attention-attractingly skilled. One of these drummers, a very young Ralph Humphrey, (read: "Ralph Humphrey--The Legend of Odd Meters" in DRUM! magazine) later played with Frank Zappa, Chick Corea, and for a while. Another drummer, also young, Steve Bohannon, has received mention from several writers with respect to his short-lived legacy as a fearless (Steve would say nave) musician despite his few years (he died in a automobile accident in 1969 at age 19). Here we are treated to some very clear recordings of these drummers' exceptional prowesses. Apparently it was this performance and recording that propelled Ellis into the world's view. For the next thirteen years his music, recordings, performances, and books would stir controversy in the jazz and music world. What continues to amaze me about this album is how well it has preserved the passion and energy of the performances of that day--and how much I enjoy all of the songs and the light-heartedness of the performances.

A five star masterpiece of progressive music from a VERY serious envelope-pusher. This album is also a treasure that we are very lucky to have.

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