Don Ellis: Hey Jude


Hey Jude


Don Ellis (trumpet, drums)


Don Ellis at Fillmore (Wounded Bird 3024)

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Don Ellis (trumpet, drums),

Glenn Stuart, Stu Blumberg, John Rosenberg, Jack Coan (trumpets), Ernie Carlson, Glenn Ferris, Don Switzer (trombones), Doug Bixby (contrabass trombone, tuba), Fred Seldon, Lonnie Shetter, Sam Falzone, John Klemmer, Jon Clarke (saxes and winds), Tom Garvin (piano), Jay Graydon (guitar), Dennis Parker (bass), Ralph Humphrey (drums), Lee Pastora (conga), Ron Dunn (percussion and drums)


Composed by Lennon/McCartney; arranged by Don Ellis


Recorded: live at Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco, CA, June 1970


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

This track is totally bonkers. Is that R2-D2 being tortured during the opening cadenza? No, that's Don Ellis's trumpet, amplified and mutated by a Ring Modulator and echo devices. Imagine being at the Fillmore in 1970 and seeing someone do that with Louis Armstrong's instrument! The first pass at the tune is backed by a "Pomp and Circumstance"-like brass choir, with Ellis and guitarist Jay Graydon creating as much indiscriminate noise as they do melody. Contrabass trombone and flute momentarily bring things into perspective as they double the melody on the bridge, and then the circus comes to town with some outrageously dissonant oompah-ing. Ellis's unaccompanied solo—at once humorously Mozartian and bizarrely extraterrestrial—calls the band to attention, and they roar through the legendary coda. There isn't much middle ground here: some listeners will appreciate and dig Ellis's humor, and others will seek the closest blunt object to bludgeon their ears. Regardless, for better or worse, no other band has ever come close to sounding like Don Ellis's orchestra.

Reviewer: Matt Leskovic

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