(1934 - 1978)
was an innovative jazz trumpeter
led far-out big bands
in the late 1960's to
mid 1970's. His music is characterized by
unusual time signatures
(including the wonderfully-titled
"Pussy Wiggle Stomp
" in 7/4 time
and "33 222 1 222" in
) and instrumentations
In particular he is famous for using a quarter-tone
trumpet, which allowed him to play notes in between
the notes you find on the piano
. He also used
a ring modulator
and other electronic devices
to give different sounds.
I was skeptical at first, thinking that these were
just gimmicks. Then I found a used double album of his band
Live at the Fillmore for $2. The album swings and
rocks and rules. No gimmicks, just innovation
and raw creativity.
More biographical details: Born in Los Angeles
(full name: Donald Johnson Ellis) and
died in Hollywood of a heart attack.
He graduated from Boston University and played
in big bands of Ray McKinley, Charlie Barnet and
Maynard Ferguson. He played in the George Russell
sextet in 1961-2.