Don Ellis Critical Editions
“But why a Critical Edition?”, you might ask. Frankly, I believe the music of Don Ellis to be of significant importance in the development of jazz and worthy of the extra care it takes to prepare the music in this form. Too often, important material sits in a box or someone’s attic waiting to be rediscovered...all but forgotten except by those intimately involved with its creation. I did not want this to happen to Don’s music. This project was founded and is headed by me. I have done extensive research and study into the life of this great musician for more than 40 years. Some of my previous projects have included producing archival and new recordings of Ellis material. I work directly with the Ellis estate and UNC Jazz Press for making this project a reality. In addition to preparing these editions with notation software for maximum clarity, they have also been prepared to allow for the many ways that Don and his band performed the pieces. The original score, performing parts, various recordings (public and private), and input from former band members have all been referenced to arrive at these current editions. You also get a full conductor’s score because the music often demands it. Finally, the score and parts have been thoroughly checked for accuracy. Wherever obvious, incorrect notes were amended. One significant feature of this series (and to any 'critical edition' for that matter) is the addition of performance and editorial annotations. These notes are provided to clarify issues of performance, point out areas of contention, as well as where and why I, the Editor, made changes. If you disagree with any of my editorial decisions, you are always given the information to do things 'the other way'. The series will be updated as the charts are prepared. Currently, the future scope of this series encompasses about forty pieces! In a few cases, a standard big band instrumentation arrangement will be made along with the original version. Please note that these Critical Editions and the compositions they represent are copyrighted, with all rights reserved. Duplication and dissemination of any part, other than necessary for personal requirements, is not permitted. It not only is against copyright law, it undermines the effort to make more of Don’s music legitimately available through publications and recordings. If you have any questions about this series, or about Don Ellis in general, please feel free to use the contact form on this site to reach me.
UNC Jazz Press publishes most of the Don Ellis Critical Editions, as well as those that were published by Ellis Music Enterprises in the 1970s. uncjazzpress.com. Ejazzlines.com is another site where most of UNC's Ellis catalog is available. The UCLA Ethnomusicology Department houses and curates all of the Ellis materials. They are useful as a database resource. They no longer make copies available for purchase due to preservation of the materials, a small staff, and a high cost for outsourcing the materials out to a third party copying vendor. UCLA Ethnomusicology archive Facebook has a Don Ellis Appreciation Society, which is administered by me. Several alumni of Don's bands are members there. Lots of links to recordings, videos, announcements, memories, and more! YouTube: There are many links on the site that have official recordings of Don's music, as well as tribute groups, and various educational ensembles. I have a channel, Don Ellis rare and unknown, where I post recordings that were typically not commercially recorded, and from Don's personal collection. The Internet Archive has an extensive collection of recordings and videos. Made possible through a grant, it has almost all the recordings in Don's possession that took place in California. Due to the nature of the grant, recordings made outside of California are not included. Most of the recordings are in rough, unedited form and not always catalogued thoroughly. But there is a wealth of material here to listen to.