“Don Ellis – Electric Heart” is the story of one of the most innovative musicians of the 20th Century. Ellis (1934–1978) fused together a mixture of Jazz-Classical-Rock and his own version of World Music long before anyone else had thought of doing it. He was the first to experiment with odd rhythms as well as introducing electronics into the world of Jazz. His life, times & music is explored with interviews from musical giants such as bandleader Maynard Ferguson, Pulitzer Winning composer Gunther Schuller as well as pianist Milcho Leviev. Rare footage of Ellis overwhelms the film as Ellis attempts to take Jazz to new heights and never look back. Strangely, his life story and musical genius has almost been completely forgotten. The unforgettable short life of one of the greatest musicians of all time is explored and a re-birth of the electrifying and magical sounds of Don Ellis is back for all to enjoy!
Great thriller soundtracks back to back on one CD – the soundtracks for both French Connection films, both handled by funky jazzman Don Ellis – plus the even rarer score for the later Popeye Doyle film, by Brad Fiedel – packaged here with other rare bonus tracks too! The music by Don Ellis is really incredible – a real cut above other 70s cop and action soundtracks, with a dark edge that shows that Ellis had been listening to some of the hipper European soundtrack composers of the time, but was still also cool enough to kick in with a badass kind of groove whenever he could! The instrumentation on the tunes is very odd – familiar, yet askew – as trumpet, guitar, and keyboard bits come off with some very weird effects. The sound of Popeye Doyle is a bit different – given that the film was an 80s TV addition to the French Connection narrative – with Ed O'Neil in the lead role that was previously handled by Gene Hackman. But Brad Fiedel's score is still pretty nice – definitely more 80s in its instrumentation, but handled with a mode that echoes the Ellis years, with the flavor of a decade later. This 2CD package has way more material than the previous issue – with a total of 48 tracks from the first two films – and 29 more from Popeye Doyle – a whopping 77 tracks in all, with some great notes too!
The works on this collection are drawn from two of the very first stereo LPs released by the L’Oiseau-Lyre sub-label of Decca. ‘Music of Handel’ was a 1958 album containing arias (recently reissued by Eloquence 482 4759) and this instrumental suite from Rodrigo, one of the composer’s early pre-London Italian operas, performed in Florence in 1707.
Tinsley Ellis has worked hard since the early 1980s to establish himself on the contemporary blues scene. As a result, he has become one of the most consistent, and therefore quintessential, electric blues men. Ellis is a an excellent guitar player and a terrific showman. He's a good songwriter in that he stretches the blues form as far as it will go, and occasionally he crosses into solid hard rock territory. On Speak No Evil, it seems as though Ellis has been listening to some of Robin Trower's early to mid-period records. That's not a bad thing: Trower is one of the great modern bluesmen who has been remarkably consistent over the decades, and he is one of the more astonishingly soulful guitar heroes alive. What seems to be at work on Speak No Evil is Ellis trying to push the blues form in a decidedly more rockist direction without losing its emotional feel. And he's done his job. Check out the opening track, "Sunlight of Love" With its hard-driven wah-wah pedals and funky backbeat; one can easily imagine this track on Trower's Twice Removed from Yesterday – Ellis even apes vocalist James Dewar's vocal phrasing. It's a killer track and a sheer surprise, – especially with a B-3 providing such a powerful atmospheric backdrop in the power trio format.