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Don Ellis

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Don Ellis Autumn (Don Ellis Orchestra) album cover
4.71 | 9 ratings | 1 reviews | 33% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1968

Songs / Tracks Listing

Variations for Trumpet (19:24)
Scratt & Fluggs (1:59)
Pussy Wiggle Stomp (6:42)
K.C. Blues (Charlie Parker / arr. Don Ellis) (live) (8:45)
Child of Ecstacy (3:15)
Indian Lady (live) (17:40)

Line-up / Musicians

Don Ellis
quarter-tone trumpet, amplified trumpet

Saxes & Woodwinds
Ira Schulman - alto sax
Frank Strozier - alto sax, clarinet
Ron Starr - alto sax, flute, piccolo, soprano sax, clarinet
Sam Falzone - tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, clarinet
John Klemmer - tenor sax clarinet
John Magruder - baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Glenn Stuart
Stu Blumberg
John Rosenberg
Bob Harmon

Ernie Carlson
Glenn Ferris
Don Switzer - bass trombone
Terry Woodson - bass trombone
Doug Bixby
Roger Bobo

Pete Robinson - piano, clavinet, electric piano, prepared piano
Mike Lang - piano, claviniet, electric piano
Ray Neapolitan - bass
Dave Parlato - bass
Ralph Humphrey - drums
Gene Strimling - drums, miscellaneous percussion
Lee Pastora - conga
Mark Stevens - vibes, miscellaneous percussion

Releases information

Columbia CS 9721, ? 1968

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to BrufordFreak for the last updates
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DON ELLIS Autumn (Don Ellis Orchestra) ratings distribution

(9 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DON ELLIS Autumn (Don Ellis Orchestra) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Don's first album since the Shock Treatment debacle (Columbia Records' righted wrong), it is a bit of a scattered collection of songs. Also, it is the Orchestra's first album without superhuman work of drummer Steve Bohannon (replacement Ralph Humphrey [The Mothers of Invention] is pretty amazing in his own right). The band here stretches out with new arrangements of "Indian Lady" (recorded live at Stanford University) and a cover of Charlie Parker's "K.C. Blues" as well as two other songs recorded under live conditions during the "Summer of Love." It also presents to the world the rollicking fun "Pussy Wiggle Stomp"--a song that would become the band's signatory opening song at live performances for the next few years. Autumn manages to showcase Don's continued compositional exploration of how to simplify complexities (i.e. create memorable, even danceable melodies while still incorporating constantly shifting time signatures) while also continuing to explore his own private fixation with the replication of classical Indian music melodies through his quarter-tone trumpet.

1. "Variations for Trumpet" (19:23) A wonderfully-recorded exploration of spacious arrangements and shifting time. Don's trumpet in the lead is as strong as ever, as are the clarity of the recordings of all of the other instruments of the Orchestra--which in and of itself is quite a feat for the follow-up of the massively corrupted and misproduced predecessor, Shock Treatment. (38.5/40)

2. "Scratt and Fluggs" (1:57) sounds like a real hoot at a country barn dance! (4.375/5)

3. "Pussy Wiggle Stomp" (6:47) a couple steps out of the deep woods of the Ozarks or Western Appalachia starts this rollicky dance tune. Eventually, the music conforms to more normal WW II-like Big Band jazz dance hit styles--only waiting for the professional dancers or the Andrews Sisters to step up front for the stage entertainment. Pretty amazing drum solo in the fifth minute! And then there is a downshift into yet another face of the Pussy Wiggle Stomp (a return to the opening motif). Such an infectious song with such tightly performed and well-recorded musicianship! (14/15)

4. "K.C. Blues" (8:44) opening with Frank Strozier's lone alto saxophone tearing up the skies yet playing with such distinct clarity that I'm sure original composer and performer Charlie "Bird" Parker would be proud. The band finally joins in during the third minute, playing pretty straightforward 1950s big band jazz, at first supporting and accenting Frank but then finally taking over for him around the five-minute mark. The rich, full arrangements that follow are notable for how numerous the banks' memberships feel. More sax soloing int he sixth minute but this time on a tenor, eventually finding the full band backing him in every way possible before everybody recedes for an electric piano solo. Nice performances, arrangements, and sound recording; just not my favorite kind of jazz. (17.5/20)

5. "Child of Ecstasy" (3:14) such solid musical performances of what feels like a simple (but we know is not) composition. The realization of the ideas of a true master of musical composition. And let's not forget how infectious is this man's energy and passion that he inspires such incredible performances like this! (9.510)

6. "Indian Lady" (17:42) those familiar horns at the start are the same but some of the instrumental performances have changed or the emphases within the soundscape mix. It feels as if the bass and drums and trumpet play have all been speeded up and clarified. The fact that this is from a live performance is nice for having the reactions of the live audience captured in the recording. But, man can these instrumentalists boogie! Because of the familiar earworm of the main melody one forgets how long this song is: so many twists and turns, so many ways to keep the main melody going on different levels while the other elements go off on crazy solo or group tangents--every expression displaying amazing skills instrumentally as well as compositionally. The all-percussion frenzy in the fourteenth and fifteenth minute is another amazing highpoint as is the frenetic bass playing behind and throughout. Simply astonishing! And that's not even mentioning the four or five times Don and the band "trick" us into thinking they're winding down to the finish only to start right back up again! I have to say that the amazing precision, recording, and energy of this long version of a song that was only eight minutes long in its first studio presentation on Electric Bath is more impressive and winning than even the great original. (33.75/35)

Total Time: 53:49

While continuing to hold the bar exceedingly high for demanding skills and performance cohesion, the music on Autumn, on the whole, feels far more diverse, dynamic, and rollicking than Don's previous recordings have captured. I may be wrong--it may be the wonderful clarity and separation of all of the individual instruments captured by the recording engineers, but it's just a great music listening experience, start to finish.

A/five stars; an excellent collection of diverse jazz-rock fusion songs coming from one of the greatest compositional and motivational masters of the movement.

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