Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Perhaps the Finest Recorded Product of Don Ellis
Sean Fenlon | Baltimore, MD | 01/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tears of Joy is considered by many to be the finest product of the Don Ellis ensemble. It was recorded live in 1971 and was the first Ellis Orchestra recording that features a string section and the Bulgarian-born rhtymic-genuis pianist Milcho Leviev. The double-CD (originally double-LP) contains Ellis's masterpiece "Strawberry Soup." Performed by countless college jazz ensembles - and even several drum and bugle corps - "Strawberry Soup" is perhaps Don Ellis's most famous composition, and is considered by many to be one of his finest compositional efforts. According to Ellis pianist Milcho Leviev, "Strawberry Soup is one of the richest (musically and technically) compositions of Don's creativity and of the Band's as well." "Strawberry Soup" is a virtual clinic in Ellis's concepts of rhythm, including exotic meters and rhythmic superimpositions."
Finally! Tears of Joy on CD!
David E. Jarvis | Pullman, WA United States | 01/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of Don's finest recordings. Leonard Feather referred to the Ellis band as "the Stan Kenton of the 70's". His explorations encompassed some of the following:
1.Odd meters that explored Bulgarian rhythms. Not just 5/4 or 7/4, but time signatures such as 25/16 ("How's This for Openers") or 33/16 ("Bulgarian Bulge") or 3 and 2/3's over 4 ("Blues in Elf").
2.Electronic sound experimentation. Ellis hooked his trumpet up to a ring modulator, echo-plex and waa-waa pedal to create a whole new sound texture. Listen to the opening bars of the title track.
3.Quarter-tone scales played on a custom built four valve trumpet. Listen to Don's opening solo line on How's This for Openers!
4.Expanded instrumentation (Electric string quartet, a sax section that doubled on every instrument, two drum set players - sometimes three when he played, tuba, french horn, auxiliary percussion and keyboard synthesizers.
5.The fusion of Latin, Rock and Jazz music. Modern treatment of pop music of the day.
6.Fantastic drum routines that included Ellis himself.
This band had it all and you can hear it all on this recording. I was lucky enough to see this band live on three occasions and live was the best way to hear them. Their performance had energy and edge. "Tears of Joy" is a perfect title for this CD because the joyous sounds of this band will come through your speakers.
I also want to say BRAVO to Wounded Bird Records for getting this recording reissued. Please don't stop with this one!! Don Ellis needs to be heard by today's generation. The rest of his recordings should also be released: "Live at the Fillmore" / "Soaring" / "The New Don Ellis Band Goes Underground" and others.
gordopeg | 03/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is arguably Don Ellis's best album. It's certainly my favourite. The playing is a bit raw around the edges, but there is an honest passion here that is infectious and exciting.The album covers the gamut of big band emotions. The track "Loss" is achingly beautiful. "Strawberry Soup", one of Don's finest compositions, is episodic, never repeating, and rollicking good fun as Don shows off how many ways 9 can be divided. "Blues in Elf", my fav DE composition, gets down and dirty as Milcho Leviev teases us with his Beethoven in a weird time signature, and Don's quarter-tone playing zeros in on the heart of the blues between the notes. Every track is a rich musical experience worthy of your listening.I should point out the string section on this album. Rather than simply background filler, the string quartet here acts as a full fledged component of the band along with the saxes, trumpets, trombones, and rhythm section. The result is a unique big band sound.This is simply one of the best big band albums of all time."