Don Ellis performing Pussy Wiggle Stomp from his Live At the Fillmore album.
There are no lyrics it's all grunts groans and licking the mouthpiece. Reminiscent of the later grunting orgasms of Keith Jarrett as he plays his piano, or the Japanese Cellist I saw in the seventies play with the Edmonton Symphony, who grunted and groaned playing his cello.
I found it a very funny song when I first heard it, and was suitably impressed with Don Ellis speeded up time signature.
However what was really funny was to hear him make dirty with what trumpet players do everyday, that is warm up their lips blowing into their mouthpieces before they even begin to practice with their horn.
Don Ellis was a unique product of the sixties, he mixed jazz, rock, electronica, classical and world music before anyone else in jazz. As the Sights and Sounds documentary on Don; Electric Heart, points out.
As a trumpet player myself, Ellis was a breathe of fresh air, and was as radical as Frank Zappa, and as underrated.
Until Ellis trumpet even when it was solo or big band, Miles or Herb Albert, was not a lead instrument, the source of the sound, with the band in the background. Ellis did for trumpet what great rock guitar soloists of the sixties did for that instrument.
In that wonderful world of blog syncronicity I find that there is a revival of sorts around Don and his music with last summers re-release of Pieces of Eight and Don Ellis Band Goes Underground.
But as I discovered years later writing this article and realizing I have no Don Ellis CD's . But I do have vinyl albums. So as a result of this article I ordered some Don Ellis from my pal Peters store; South Side Sound.
I made a special order mistakenly of Don Ellis Live At Monterey, which does not have Pussy Wiggle Stomp on it. But is does have 33 222 1 222 which after listening too I realized was the musical basis, sub structure tonality for Pussy wiggle Stomp.
Listening to this break through Live album I realised that I had never heard it before. And suddenly it was all fresh. Why and what I remembered of Don Ellis, and what made him and his band unique. They were a band, and they went beyond cutting edge in sound not only for their time, for their moment in history, but beyond. And for a white jazz big band. They dared, they broke boundaries.
And for me as a young trumpet player, who had been forced to pick an instrument to learn, because that's what you do to keep up with the Jone's. So I picked trumpet as it broke through in pop music with Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass.
But it was Don Ellis that really turned me on as to what a trumpet and a modern big band could do.
In the post modern Jazz world of the seventies, Don broke open a dam, and the flood created the new jazz, including the urban funk of Miles as well as the popularization of Jazz fusion of Chick Corea. It was the new sound of classic rock meeting classic jazz.
Thanks to Don Ellis.
Don(ald Johnson) Ellis was a jazz trumpeter, drummer, bandleader, touring performer, recording artist, composer, and arranger. Born in Los Angeles in on July 25, 1934, he died of a heart attack at his home in North Hollywood on December 17, 1978. Ellis studied composition at Boston University (BMus 1956) and spent a year as a graduate student at UCLA, where he later taught. Ellis played with a variety of prestigious big bands and jazz groups, including those of Charlie Barnet, Sam Donahue, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton, Woody Herman, Ralph Marterie, Ray McKinley, Stan Kenton, George Russell, and Claude Thornhill. He also led big bands, jazz orchestras, trios, quartets, and other small combos of his own. He performed with the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, DC, under the direction of Gunther Schuller, the New York Philharmonic under the direction of Leonard Bernstein, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the direction of Zubin Mehta.
Ellis is perhaps best known for his unusual and complex meters, amplified trumpet, electronic distortion, and quarter-tone melodic structures. He often used 9/4, 5/8, 7/8, 9/8, and 19/4 time signatures. He played a quarter-tone trumpet with four valves, which gave subtlety and microtonal effects to his music. In later years, he played a "superbone," a combination valve and slide trombone. Ellis received Grammy nominations for Live at Monterey (1967), Electric Bath (1968), The New Don Ellis Band Goes Underground (1969), Don Ellis at Fillmore (1970), and "Theme from The French Connection" (1972). "Theme from The French Connection" won the Grammy for "Best Instrumental Arrangement" in 1972.
Ellis encouraged Falzone to begin writing and invited him to join his orchestra, for which he was to serve as performer, composer, and road manager from 1965-1976. The Don Ellis Orchestra not only was one of the most exciting and persistently innovative large jazz ensembles of the time, but also attracted a large and enthusiastic following. Falzone was frequently featured as a soloist ("Salvatore Sam" on Live at the Fillmore, "Pussy Wiggle Stomp" on Autumn) and composer/arranger ("Get It Together" on Tears of Joy, "Go Back Home" on Soaring, "Put It Where You Want It" on Connection).
Don Ellis at Fillmore
by Don Ellis
This is a crazy and consistently riotous two-disc set that... More features the Don Ellis Orchestra at its height. The 20-piece orchestra (with trumpeter Ellis doubling on drums along with a regular drummer and two percussionists) often used electronic devices (such as ring modulators) at the time to really distort its sound. When coupled with odd time signatures and such exuberant soloists as Ellis, trombonist Glenn Ferris, tenor saxophonist John Klemmer (showcased on the remarkable "Excursion II"), guitarist Jay Graydon, altoists Fred Selden and Lonnie Shetter, and tenor Sam Falzone, the results are quite memorable. Highlights of the date include "Final Analysis" (which contains a countless number of false endings), a bizarre rendition of "Hey Jude," and an often hilarious remake of "Pussy Wiggle Stomp." In 2005, the Wounded Bird label reissued this session on CD for the first time. Unfortunately, no bonus tracks were available. ~ Scott Yanow & Al Campbell, All Music Guide
A miscellany of quotes made over the years by and about Don Ellis ... The late Leonard Feather once prophesied that Don Ellis would become the Stan Kenton
Don Ellis on YouTube
As a huge fan of Don Ellis it's really special for me to get a chance to play his music this one in particular is one of my favorite tunes. It combines Don's "out there" writing and monumental trumpet lines reminiscent of Maynard Ferguson o As a huge fan of Don Ellis it's really special for me to get a chance to play his music this one in particular is one of my favorite tunes. It combines Don's "out there" writing and monumental trumpet lines reminiscent of Maynard Ferguson or Cat Anderson. (more) (less)
This is Don Ellis playing the song
Favorite Oddball Song Titles
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