by Don Ellis



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. Ellis incorporated inventive, in-your-face, swaggering arrangements into his hearing and execution of pop's possibilities in the jazz world of the early '70s. Most of the tracks are short, with only a big-band freakout read of Hank Levy's "Chain Reaction" going over the five-minute mark. This, along with the disc's opener (a fine cover of Joe Sample's "Put It Where You Want It") and Ellis' own "Theme from The French Connection" (a surprise hit for him) work well as modern creative big band offerings. There are some really embarrassing moments here as well. Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again (Naturally)" was utterly unnecessary and is pure schlock; likewise the "jazz on Quaaludes" take on the Carpenters' "Goodbye to Love." "Lean On Me" (the soul classic written by Bill Withers) is simply surreal, as is the cover of Yes' "Roundabout." Ellis devotees will no doubt delight in Connection because of its abundance of sass, humor, and imagination, while jazz purists will shake their heads in disgust and others will greet the album with mix of curious bewilderment, a good-natured (hopefully) chuckle, and a perverse kind of glee.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/18/2005
Label: Wounded Bird Records
UPC: 0664140176621
catalogNumber: 1766

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Don Ellis   Primary Artist,Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Milcho Leviev   Keyboards
Bruce Mackay   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Doug Bixby   Tuba
Denyse Buffum   Electric Viola
Thomas Buffum   Electric Violin
Vince Denham   Flute,Saxophone
Glenn Ferris   Trombone
Carmelo Garcia   Percussion,Timbales
Jay Graydon   Guitar
Gary Herbig   Flute,Piccolo,Saxophone
Ralph Humphrey   Drums
Sidney Muldrow   French Horn
Lee Pastora   Conga
Gil Rathel   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Glenn Stuart   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Fred Selden   Flute,Piccolo,Saxophone
Dave McDaniel   Bass
Paul G. Bogosian   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Earle Correy   Electric Violin
Ron Dunn   Percussion,Drums
Sam Falzone   Clarinet,Flute,Saxophone
Pat Kudzia   Electric Cello
Ken Sawhill   Bass Trombone

Technical Credits

Jon Anderson   Composer
Steve Howe   Composer
Carole King   Composer
Bill Withers   Composer
Don Ellis   Arranger,Composer
Leonard Feather   Liner Notes
Milcho Leviev   Arranger
Joe Sample   Composer
Gary Brooker   Composer
Richard Carpenter   Composer
John Bettis   Composer
Hank Levy   Arranger,Composer
Teo Macero   Producer
Phil Macy   Engineer
K. Reid   Composer
Tim Rice   Composer
Fred Selden   Arranger
Stan Weiss   Remixing
Richard Halligan   Arranger,Composer
Earle Correy   Arranger
Sam Falzone   Arranger

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