Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Don Ellis - Shock Treatment CD (album) cover


Don Ellis


Jazz Rock/Fusion

2.17 | 4 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Easy Money
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars In 1966 Don Ellis turned the world of jazz, and particularly big band jazz, upside down with his concert and recording at The Monterey Jazz Festival that featured exotic instrumentation, internationally flavored odd-metered rhythms and psychedelic sounds and sensibilities. The follow up album, Electric Bath, continued in a similar vein, but unfortunately on Shock Treatment Ellis falls off the beam slightly and delivers something a little more conventional. This isn't a bad album, but compared to Live at Monterey there is a definite fall off in progressiveness and exotic flavors. What I miss most about the earlier albums are the breakdown sections where Ellis would play trumpet against a backdrop of percussionists and the band would vary the texture per song in general. Instead, on Shock Treatment the full ensemble is more persistent and the horn section blares away at times when some more sparse instrumentation would be nice for a change.

Overall Ellis' music could be an acquired taste in the modern age. Despite his often proto- progressive jazz rock tendencies, there is always the 'big bandisms' that might remind folks of late night comedians and Vegas lounge acts. On this album that sort of old school sensibility comes more to the forefront than on his more acid sounding releases. Certainly his approach to big band orchestration was revolutionary within that genre, but to the layman those blaring horns and saxophones might have you wondering when Johnny Carson or Tom Jones is going to come out from behind the curtain.

There are two songs on here that stand out. Star Children is 60s psychedelic ambience with exotica Gregorian vocals, twinkling echoed celeste, sitar (of course) and a Spanish tinged Phrygian trumpet melody that recalls Sketches of Spain. Zim, written by woodwinds player Jay Magruder, is just an excellent melody that fits well in a big band format. On both tunes though, as is the case on most of this album, Ellis can't help himself from breaking out the big horn buildups.

For aficionados of modern big band music, this album is superb. The playing, orchestrations, recording and production are outstanding, but for those looking for Ellis' contribution to the formative years of progressive fusion, this is not the best one to go with.

Easy Money | 2/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this DON ELLIS review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives