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Thursday, January 26, 2023

How Time Passes - Don Ellis


Improvisational Suite #1

How Time Passes
Don Ellis
Barnaby Candid Jazz
Distributed by Janus Records a Division of GRT Corp.

From the back cover: Writing of the 1960 session of The School of Jazz in the November, 1960, Jazz Review, Gunther Schuller noted: Don Ellis has already found his own voice, which seems to consist of a fascinating blend of jazz and contemporary classical influences. In fact, his playing represents one of the few true syntheses of jazz and classical elements, without the slightest self-consciousness and without any loss of the excitement and raw spontaneity that the best of jazz always had... It seems to me that Don has found a way of expanding the rhythmic vocabulary of jazz to include rhythm pattern heretofore excluded because they couldn't be made to swing. If this is true, it would constitute a major breakthrough, and its implications would be far-reaching... Ellis's rhythmic approach is closely related to the other. It is evident that Ellis has listened to and understood the music of Webern, Stockhausen, Cage and others of the avant-grade... here again, Ellis' jazz feeling has more than survived..."

Although Ellis was a student at The School of Jazz, he had already had extensive experience in jazz and classical music. Born in Los Angeles, July 25, 1934, Ellis has a Bachelor of Music degree from Boston University, has studied privately with several major brass teachers, and has played in as well as written for all manner of combination up to and including full symphony orchestra and chorus. He has led his own jazz combos since grade school and has worked with, among others, Herb Pomeroy, Jesse Smith, the Glenn Miller orchestra under Ray McKinley, Charlie Barnet, Kenny Durham, Same Donahue, Claude Thornhill, Woody Herman, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton and George Russell.

John "Jaki" Byard, before going on the road with Maynard Ferguson in 1959, was a strong influence on a number of Boston-based jazzmen, Don Ellis among them. Byard has played as solo pianist as well as with Earl Bostic, Herb Pomeroy and others. Ron Carter, a brilliant bassist who has worked with Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston and Charlie Persip, among other combos, has a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music. Charlie Persip, who became most widely known for his work with the Dizzy Gillespie big band, has been alternating wide-ranging New York studio work with leading his own driving combo. "He seemed," says Ellis, "the only choice for the date. He has so wonderful and consistent ability to swing and can also sight read just about anything as well as play all manner of phrases and time signatures, making them come out natural and relaxed." – Nat Hentoff

How Time Passes
A Simple One
Improvisational Suite #1

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