DON ELLIS — Electric Bath

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DON ELLIS - Electric Bath cover
4.29 | 5 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1967


A1 Indian Lady 8:06
A2 Alone 5:33
A3 Turkish Bath 10:18
B1 Open Beauty 8:28
B2 New Horizons 12:22


- Dave Parlato /Bass
- Frank De La Rosa /Bass
- Ray Neapolitan / Bass, Sitar
- Chino Valdes / Congas, Bongos
- Steve Bohannon / Drums
- Alan Estes / Percussion,Vibraphone [Uncredited]
- Mike Lang / Piano, Electric Piano [Fender], Clavinet
- Joe Roccisano /Saxophone [Alto, Soprano], Flute
- Ruben Leon / Saxophone [Alto, Soprano], Flute
- John Magruder / Saxophone [Baritone], Clarinet [Uncredited], Bass Clarinet, Flute
- Ron Starr / Saxophone [Tenor], Flute, Clarinet
- Ira Schulman / Saxophone [Tenor], Piccolo Flute, Flute, Clarinet
- Mark Stevens / Timbales, Percussion, Vibraphone [Uncredited]
- Dave Sanchez / Trombone
- Ron Myers / Trombone
- Terry Woodson / Trombone
- Alan Weight / Trumpet
- Bob Harmon / Trumpet
- Don Ellis / Trumpet
- Ed Warren / Trumpet
- Glenn Stuart / Trumpet

About this release

Columbia/CBS CK 65522

Re-released on CD in 1998 by Columbia/Legacy in Europe

Recorded September 19 (tracks 1, 2 and 4) and September 20 (all other tracks), 1967 at Columbia Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA

All tracks originally released 1967 except tracks 6 and 7 (bonus tracks, not on original LP) originally released 1968

Track 2 is erroneously credited to J. Levy on the CD release

Thanks to snobb for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Electric Bath was the 1968 breakthrough album for Don Ellis, An album that was nominated for a Grammy Award, It won the "Album of the year award" in Down Beat Magazine. and went to #8 on the Billboard Jazz Album Chart. Indian Lady the Most Famous tune from the album, with New Horizons and Turkish Bath close behind, One of the real groundbreaking songs was Open Beauty, a spacey psychedelic type tune, with Echo-plexed electronic Trumpet, A real experimental feat for the time. The whole album is very cohesive ,swinging like crazy and incorporating the Indian and middle eastern musical influences don was into at this time, The music must have really seemed Ground breaking at the time. Electric Bath is hardly ever mentioned as an all time great. But I think it is within modern big band circles any way. It does not sound dated at all, and the a fore mentioned Open Beauty really points to some of the electric experimentation within jazz to come, The Moody atmosphere is reminiscent of the Title Track to Bitches Brew, as well as Davis's rearrangement of The Wayne Shorter Composition Sanctuary. Most People don't even know Don was responsible for the film score to the Academy Award winning film "The French Connection",(try finding that on CD) Had Don not died 1978 at the young age of 44, he may now be a house hold name, I have all of his albums on vinyl and CD, Electric bath was probably his best fully realized work, His Pacific Jazz releases prior to this album are all worth hearing, and later, Tears of Joy and Soaring are great as well.
Released in late 1967, Electric Bath shows Ellis already using the odd-metered rhythms and exotic instrumentation that will be trademarks of his big band for the rest of his career. Likewise, the album also shows him leaning a bit towards rock. He definitely was breaking the pre-existing big band mold with this recording by using electronic keyboards, percussion from around the world, as well as influences from modern composers. Side one is the more aggressive side with Ellis and crew rocking out old school style, with loud brassy punches and choruses, and a driving group of drummers and percussionists. This Side closes with the song Electric Bath,, something that might appeal to fans of Zappa's late 60s - early 70s big band music with it's snaky atonal melody and middle odd-metered groove section. Ellis' influence on Zappa's music is obvious during this time period.

On side two things get a bit more interesting when the big band fades to more of a background orchestra as percussion and echoed electric pianos provide atmosphere. Open Beauty starts like a modern acid jazz tune with spacey Fender Rhodes sounds before Ellis' mini-orchestra slowly fills in the background. This side is the more 'exotic' side also with drums often replaced by congas, tablas and other percussion instruments, it also contains Ellis' infamous trumpet solo through an echoplex, one of the first jazz solos ever recorded this way. Loved by the California youth that Don was starting to appeal to, but hated by the jazz critics, this solo brought Ellis a lot of attention, but not all of it good.

The album closer, New Horizons, opens with neo-classical melodies before a beatnik bongo beat drives a trio of flutes in an intertwining cool jazz improv; five finger snaps! Later, mellow Debussy horn harmonies are topped with another Ellis horn solo while Mike Lang's electric piano echoes in the background. Finally more hard groovin odd-metered horn driven jazz takes us to some modern orchestrated diversions and the final big horn showdown.

A great album on its own, this album should be particularly interesting to fans of early odd-metered horn driven jazz rock bands such as Soft Machine, Frank Zappa and King Crimson. All of that begins with Don Ellis.

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