Don Ellis: Indian Lady
Don Ellis Orchestra
Electric Bath (Columbia/Legacy 65522)
Don Ellis (trumpet),
Ruben Leon, Joe Roccisano, Ira Shulman, Ron Starr, John Magruder (reeds); Bob Harmon, Glenn Stuart, Edward Warren, Alan Weight (trumpet); Ron Myers, David Sanchez, Terry Woodson (trombone); Mike Lang (keyboard); Dave Parlato, Frank De LaRosa (bass), Steve Bohannon (drums), Chino Valdes (bongos, conga); Mark Stevens, Alan Estes (percussion).
Composed by Don Ellis.
Recorded: September 17-20, 1967
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
Since his death in 1978 at age 45, trumpeter Don Ellis has fallen off the radar screens of most jazz listeners. But in 1967, Ellis had the most innovative big band on the planet. The liner notes called the Electric Bath LP an "aural collage made up of the Beatles, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Ravi Shankar and Leonard Feather's Encyclopedia of Jazz." That's a scary claim, and maybe a bit much to substantiate, but Ellis was clearly pushing at the limits of the big band vocabulary with the exotic textures and driving 5/4 beat of "Indian Lady." Ellis had immersed himself in avant-garde and mainstream jazz traditions, and dug deeply into "World Music" before it became fashionable. He published an influential article on Indian music two years before Electric Bath, and studied with Hari Har Rao while doing graduate work in ethno- musicology at UCLA. These experiences married to his strong mastery of the trumpet ensured that Ellis not only could lead a hot band, but would also stand out as its star soloist. Check out "Indian Lady" and find out why this unfairly forgotten release garnered a Grammy nomination and an "Album of the Year" award from Down Beat back in the day.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia