Composers - Don Ellis
Before his untimely death in 1978 at the young age of 44, Don Ellis was one of the most creative and innovative jazz musicians of all time. In a career span of less than 25 years, Don Ellis distinguished himself as a trumpeter, drummer, composer, arranger, recording artist, author, music critic and music educator.
He is best remembered for his work as a big band leader. His orchestra, which was active from 1966-78, and in varying configurations featured a string section, brass sextet and a woodwind quintet complete with oboe and bassoon, achieved enormous appeal at a time when the taste for big band music was fading.
He won a Grammy Award for his 1972 title composition of the movie "The French Connection", and his band received 2 Grammy nominations for their performances on "Live At Fillmore" and "Soaring".
New rhythmic devices ultimately became the Don Ellis trademark. His compositions frequently displayed time signatures such as 5/4, 7/4, 13/8 and 9/2. Hank Levy, composer of some of the charts offered here and one of Don’s "co-conspirators" in the time revolution, once quipped that "Yes, Don and I do write music in 4/4, we just subdivide it 5-1!" The compositions offered here are the actual charts, in standard big band instrumentation, offered by Ellis Music Enterprises in the 1970s.
Big Band Charts
12/8 lazy blues chart, featuring trumpet soloist (or alto) and big band. From Don’s "Haiku" album where every song is an original composition based on English translations of a Japanese poem depicting an inspiration from nature……"Slowly, the bee comes. From deep within peonies. With such reluctance!"
The Great Divide
A dynamic show stopper! Originally written for Dwight Cannon and the San Jose State College Stage Band.
It’s a very fast 13/4 divided 3+3+2,3+2, and not for the timid, but if your band can master it, you are guaranteed to put the audience on it’s feet yelling for more