It's about time…literally.
Fresh Scent | Philadelphia, PA | 05/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not only was this out-of-print Columbia album finally reissued on CD by Koch Jazz, but it has been restored in its entirety. There are at least three different vinyl pressings of "Shock Treatment," all of them frustratingly packaged with songs either severely editted or just plain omitted (despite what the album jacket said). It's been a big, confusing mess, until now.All of the songs from the session are includedÉeditted cuts restored, alternate takes added, and "lost" material uncovered. Ellis fans will probably be most intrigued with the bonus track of "I Remember Clifford" since it showcases Don and his orchestra in an unconventional setting (that being, of course, a conventional one!). The rest of the album is more of what you'd expect to hearÉfoward-thinking music rooted in the oldest of classical and jazz traditions. It's beyond catagory, and those with open ears will find it a rewarding listen. Let's pray that other Ellis reissues will follow."
For me - Five Stars - That's all I need to say...
Bruce D. Davis | Yorktown, VA | 07/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have a sentimental spot for this album because it was my introduction to Don Ellis. Listening to it for the first time in my high school band room, I heard things which lead me to explore the rest of the album and subsequently become an immersed listener of odd-metered compositions by Don Ellis, Hank Levy and others.
The first thing is "A New Kind Of Country" featuring an energetic and extended Ron Starr tenor solo in a fast driving seven. Hearing this as a high school tenor player, I couldn't believe the energy driving throughout the solo. It is one of my favorite sax solos right up there with Don Menza on "Channel One Suite".
"Beat Me Daddy, Seven to the Bar" features an intro that may be the finest example of Don using the four valve quarter-tone trumpet; a clean, well crafted solo building through the entrance by the band into a most satisfying conclusion. This solo far surpasses the intro solo for this same song which appeared as a bonus track on "Live at Monterey". A number of solos including a drum exchange were also restored to the track.
"Milo's Theme", an Ellis oddity since it is in 4 (5 minus 1 according to Don), is rich in orchestration and is a moody and delightful track. "Homecoming" is in a relaxed, bluesy nine and again features fine, solid soloing by Don. "Opus 5" and "Seven-Up", two great compositions by Howlett Smith (which were bonus "live" tracks on "Live in 2 2/3 4 Time") are included. These and other tracks reflect a wide variety of colors, styles and moods.
The liner notes are the next great feature. Here is the explanation of the long, tortured history of this particular album. I bought "Shock Treatment" when it first came out. A year or two later, my brother bought a copy of the same album which turned out to be the second pressing containing a revised track order. This CD features all the tracks from both pressings plus bonus tracks. And solos that were omitted from the original albums have been restored. The tracks do not follow the order of either pressing, but the original track order (for whatever version) can be reconstructed for your listening pleasure through simple programming of your CD changer.
This may not be the best Ellis album - "Tears of Joy" holds that honor. However, it is one of my favorite Ellis albums loaded with fine solos, lots of energy and interesting ideas. While this CD may not be as cohesive in its overall structure, it makes a fine bookend to "Electric Bath" which preceded it.
Five stars indeed.
William R. Nicholas | Mahwah, NJ USA | 07/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Don Ellis was a rare animal in jazz. He was an innovator, but did not stick to one style. He is probably filed by marketing people as big band jazz, but there is no way to classify the work his big band did. He sounds more like Frank Zappa than Glen Miller, but he sounds like Stan Kenton, too. Movie music, rock, indian ragas--Ellis took his trumpet and his group and just went anywhere he wanted. Miles did the same, but over years. This guy did one album and before you nailed where he was at, he went someplace else.
But don't read my blathering to understand this: just buy Shock Treatment. There is rock and roll on here and choral music, and some Dixieland-pumped up on Ellis' man from space time signatures--TV-like music, old stlye ballads--you get the picture.
And know what, it ALL works as an album. Ellis was able to run his electric 60s style through all this work, and so Shock Treatment holds together as does the Beatles White Album, or Zappa's musical stews of the period. He is so solid with his sound that the experimentation comes natural. Yet, Ellis used the song format as his labratory, so all his sophistcation is increadably listenable. He has the knowlage of a musioal accidemic and the soul of a untrained genious.
ENOUGH BABBLING. STOP LISTENING TO ME AND GO BUY THIS."