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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!"

Price: $19.95

Partin - Don Ellis
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Final Analysis

Don  Ellis’ own concert opener. In a march/rock 9/4 with a hilarious "Beethoven"  ending!

Price: $19.95

Finale Analysis - Don Ellis
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Magic Bus Ate My Doughnut

Nominated for a Grammy Award as best intrumental arrangement of 1971. Moderate difficulty, in a pattern of 3+4+3+5. A modern hard-driving arrangement.

Price: $19.95

Magic Bus Ate My Doughnut - Don Ellis
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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

Price: $19.95

The Great Divide - Don Ellis
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A hip sounding arrangement in 4/4. A cross between a samba and rock beat.

Price: $19.95

Unknown Track - Unknown Artist
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The Blues

A simple and effective, soulful blues arrangement in 4/4. A good showcase for your best soloist (on any instrument).

Price: $19.95

The Blues - Don Ellis
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