This is a crazy and consistently riotous two-disc set that features the Don Ellis Orchestra at its height. The 20-piece orchestra (with trumpeter Ellis doubling on drums along with a regular drummer and two percussionists) often used electronic devices (such as ring modulators) at the time to really distort its sound. When coupled with odd time signatures and such exuberant soloists as Ellis, trombonist Glenn Ferris, tenor saxophonist John Klemmer (showcased on the remarkable "Excursion II"), guitarist Jay Graydon, altoists Fred Selden and Lonnie Shetter, and tenor Sam Falzone, the results are quite memorable. Highlights of the date include "Final Analysis" (which contains a countless number of false endings), a bizarre rendition of "Hey Jude," and an often hilarious remake of "Pussy Wiggle Stomp." In 2005, the Wounded Bird label reissued this session on CD for the first time.
Copenhagen Art Ensemble - one of the most open-minded Danish orchestras in the fields of improvisation and modern composed jazz - has recorded a new cd: Don ́t Mention the War. Don ́t Mention the War presents music which has been in the Ensemble’s repertoire for a number of years. With this cd the orchestra puts on record and documents several years of concert music as it sounds when Copenhagen Art Ensemble “plays on its own”, i.e. without any guest composers/soloists or concept-based projects.
Don Ellis' Connection, issued in 1972, was a brazen attempt at swinging for the chart fences. Most of the tunes selected come right from the pop vernacular of the day. They range from a barnburning read of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's theme for "Jesus Christ Superstar" and a dirty funk approach to Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move" to a provocative and spacy cover of Procol Harum's "Conquistador" that feels like the horn chart for Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" wedded to Mason Williams' "Classical Gas" trumped by Stan Kenton in the mid-'50s. While the description may read atrociously, sonically and aesthetically the set comes off far better…
One of the most exciting new jazz big bands of the period, Ellis' ensemble became notorious for its ability to play coherently in odd time signatures. One of the four originals heard on this acclaimed outing from the 1966 Monterey Jazz Festival is titled "33 222 1 222" to show how the band manages to perform in 19/4 time. The other selections are Hank Levy's "Passacaglia And Fugue," "Concerto For Trumpet" (in 5/4) and "New Nine." In addition to the time signatures, Ellis enjoyed utilizing unusual combinations of instruments; the instrumentation on this date consists of five trumpets, three trombones, five saxes, piano, three bassists, two drummers and a percussionist. Among the more notable sidemen are a young Tom Scott (who solos on alto) and tenor-saxophonist Ira Schulman.
Don Byas was one of the great tenor saxophonists of the 1940s, a Coleman Hawkins-influenced improviser who developed a complex style of his own. His permanent move to Europe in 1946 cut short any chance he had of fame, but Byas recorded many worthy performances during the two years before his departure. On Classics' first Don Byas CD (which contains his first 21 numbers as a leader), Byas matches wits and power with trumpeter Charlie Shavers on two heated sessions that include pianist Clyde Hart and bassist Slam Stewart. He also plays swing with trumpeter Joe Thomas and pianist Johnny Guarnieri in a 1945 quintet and leads a quartet that, on four of its eight numbers, welcomes the great blues guitarist/singer Big Bill Broonzy…
Coming as it did between two of Don Ellis' greatest records (Autumn and At Fillmore), New Don Ellis Band Goes Underground was a disappointment. The dozen concise performances are generally overarranged, the solos are too brief, and the melodies (with two exceptions) are not memorable. The ridiculously complex "Bulgarian Bulge" and "Eli's Coming" (which would soon join the repertoire of Maynard Ferguson) are the standouts, but the other R&B-oriented material, which often has so-so vocals by Patti Allen, is quite forgettable. One of trumpeter Don Ellis' lesser efforts.
Damn Yankees were an American rock super group formed in 1989 consisting of Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Ted Nugent of The Amboy Dukes and a successful solo career, and Michael Cartellone (then an unknown drummer who would later join Lynyrd Skynyrd). Don't Tread is the second and last studio album released by hard rock supergroup Damn Yankees. It features their second highest charting single, the power ballad "Where You Goin' Now" which peaked at number 20. The album itself reached number 22 in the Billboard 200 album chart.