Never having been too excited by Don Ellis's best-known recordings with his big band, I had no idea that Don Ellis made music in a quite different vernacular as he did on this early-sixties recording with Paul Bley and Gary Peacock. Originally released in 1962 on Pacific Jazz, this shows an articulate and confident trumpeter mining the post-bop and free jazz field. The pairing with Bley is particularly felicitous.
Included are a very fresh sounding Ellington tune, "Johnny Come Lately," and "Ostinato," which hints at the work he would later do exploring complex time signatures with his big bands of the the later sixties and on. The Ellis originals are all highly exploratory, and takes on Carla Bley compositions ("Donkey") are always welcome. The album ends with a blistering version of the Rodgers and Hart tune, "Lover".
For my taste, this is a more satisfying Don Ellis than the much better known big band recordings present. Thanks to all involved for the reissue.