Warming Up

Warming Up

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guilty Pleasure – Don Ellis Montreux 1977 Concert on YouTube

OK I can’t seem to help myself. I really enjoy listening to Don Ellis. I’ve written about him before (here and here), but thanks to my friend, Philly musician and composer, Travis Woodson, I’ve just discovered that Electric Bathhouse has recently posted Don Ellis’ full concert  at the Montreux Jazz Festival July 8, 1977. (Update: some of the videos have been taken down due to copyright infringement. Stupid copyright infringement!).

Sometimes I’m almost ashamed to admit how much I like Don Ellis’ music. The guy can be really cheesy and his trumpet playing can be really hokey and corny (king of straight eighths). But – and this is a big but (!) – there is a sick amount of music involved with Ellis’ music and Ellis is a really good trumpet player. This Montreux set proves it. Ellis did almost all of the arrangements here. And like always, the guy was thinking big. Sometimes to the point of excess (it was the 70’s, remember). Most jazz bands had a hard enough time in the 70’s. But Don kept a big band working throughout the decade. And not just a regular big band; this one had an electric string quartet, multiple kit drummers (Don sometimes played kit on stage too – three kits set up on stage!), Latin percussion, mallet percussion, keyboards and synths, amplified sax section. How the hell did Ellis manage to pay these people? Seriously. How did he do it? These aren’t punk musicians. These guys (and ladies) can all play their butts off. And Don’s music is really hard. But the band is always crazy tight. Watching these concert videos now, I’m blown away by the quality of musicianship. Also blown away by the cheesiness of the set design and the band uniforms! I’m also wondering how the sound crew must have felt when they found out who they would be setting up and mixing for that night! And who w

Hope you enjoy watching these videos. I hope Electric Bathhouse can keep posting more Don Ellis!

Open Wide

Future Feature:


Sporting Dance:

Pussy Wiggle Stomp

Arcturus (
from the Star Wars album which I don’t have, can’t find anywhere, and really want!):

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