Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don Ellis Orchestra - Electric Bath

An album that made headlines in its day and is virtually forgotten now. It came out in 1967, and truly stood out, even among the torrent of new, exciting, far-out music that was gushing forth in the late 60s. It earned top marks from many critics, a Grammy, and an "Album of the Year" from Down Beat magazine. It won fans both among the older jazzhead hipsters and the young rock crowd; many Amazon reviews start out with "I was fifteen in 1967, when I first heard this album".
Liner notes: Conceive, if you can, an aural collage created by the Beatles, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ravi Shankar and Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz. And then, imagine that creation churning through the high-powered talents of twenty-one young musicians, like a rumble before you open the door of a blast furnace.
The description may seem bloated, but is, in fact, quite true: the album combines many interests of the leader, trumpeter Don Ellis - free improv, indian music, odd time signatures, electronic effects, unusual instrumentation (like, for instance, three bass players and an array of percussion), and high-energy arena-rock-sized playing. All of these elements are fused into a coherent whole and applied to a set of tunes that, despite the avantgarde leanings and all the cerebrailty, retain enough pop edge for the radio. It's got something for everyone. The reviewers uniformly pronounce this album to be the music of the future. Now that the future is here, why is it so obscure? I don't understand.


Don Ellis Orchestra - Electric Bath
192kbps, 70mb on depositfiles
1. Indian Lady
2. Alone
3. Turkish Bath
4. Open Beauty
5. New Horizons
6. Turkish Bath (Single)
7. Indian Lady (Single)

17 comments:

  1. perfect tuesday morning music from a band I'd never heard of before. thanks!

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  2. Thanks! I didn't know Don Ellis, but I'm a fan already. Every track is catchy but also full of surprises, and the horns in 'Turkish Bath' are making me very, very happy.

    With a big smile,

    M.

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  3. Wow, I haven't heard this in years. I went through a phase in junior high school when I bought a bunch of his albums after digging one in my dad's collection. There was a good article in jazzitude a while back discussing him in light of current trends in jazz. http://www.jazzitude.com/ellis_douglas01.htm

    I also saw something about a new documentary on youtube. So maybe there's a revival of interest afoot.

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  4. Thanks, godoggo. A good article, but still more questions than answers. Anyway, it would be nice to see an Ellis revival.

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  5. Absolutely fascinating - I second the question of why this isn't better known, and thank you for bringing it to us!

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  6. If you like this one, hunt around for

    AUTUMN

    LIVE AT THE FILLMORE

    Ellis also developed a four-valve trumpet so he could play quarter-tone notes (kind of like in the spaces between piano keys. Later incarnations included a full-time string section.

    RIP, Don.

    Note to Marcus: I recall that Ellis ordered each member of his sax section on Turkish Bath to de-tune about a quarter-tone from the player next to him...then they played the arrangement with no compensation. Thus, that jangly Middle-Eastern sound.

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  7. i like it when you post, plez moar! hahah. but really

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  8. Thanks for the tip, I downloaded it and bought it immediately on eBay, its a great album!

    ...the indian lady drives me CRAZY...

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  9. Really a great great blog!

    By the way, I have a blog about french music where i ve uploaded "mixtapes" of the best French music. Maybe, you 'll be interested. (http://french-kisses.blogspot.com)

    And in the case you can read French, check my previous blog about "world music" http://berceuse.electrique.over-blog.com

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  10. Are you ever coming back?

    Great blog!

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  11. Great album, it just sucks you in past easy listening milestones to free big band jazz. One that I'm going to be recommending to others.

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  12. As a child in 68-70 I was programmed with Sunday morning Jazz by my grandmother All Jazz was good, then her encore was the Stax albums.

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  13. This album is unbelievable. Thank you so much for your work on this website. I love it!

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