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Don Ellis - Electric Heart

DVD

4.6 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Don Ellis - Electric Heart is the story of one of the most innovative musicians of the 20th Century. Ellis (1934-1978) fused together a mixture of Jazz-Classical-Rock and his own version of World Music long before anyone else had thought of doing it. He was the first to experiment with odd rhythms as well as introducing electronics into the world of jazz. His life, times & music is explored with interviews from musical giants such as bandleader Maynard Ferguson, Pulitzer Winning composer Gunther Schuller as well as pianist Milcho Leviev. Rare footage of Ellis overwhelms the film as Ellis attempts to take Jazz to new heights and never look back. Strangely, his life story and musical genius has almost been completely forgotten. The unforgettable short life of one of the greatest musicians of all time is explored and a re-birth of the electrifying and magical sounds of Don Ellis is back for all to enjoy!

Review

Hopefully this Documentary will correct some of the misconceptions about Don Ellis and his music and generate more interest in his many unique recordings. --AudioPhile Audition

Electric Heart gives Ellis his due! --The Stranger


Product Details

  • Actors: Don Ellis
  • Directors: John Vizzusi
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, NTSC
  • Language: English (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: German
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2014
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00IKXQU8U
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #86,340 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve Ramm TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 8, 2014
Format: DVD
I only knew “Jazz” trumpeter Don Ellis from his one “hit” Lp “Don Ellis Band Goes Underground” back in 1969. And, honestly, I forgot all about it until I received this new DVD documentary on Ellis for review. In 2007 documentary film director John Vizzusi decided the time had come to give Ellis his due and this 71-minute film is the result. Vizzusi interviews many of the original members of the Ellis band as well as using archival footage from an interview with band leader Maynard Ferguson (who died in 2006). Ellis was a member of trumpeter Ferguson’s band before heading out on his own to expand the definition of jazz. (There is also some archival audio from Stan Kenton). Ellis’s electric band played jazz, but it was infused with classical and rock moments. They often played with rock bands on the bill at the Fillmore West. In 1972 Ellis composed the score for the hit film “The French Connection” (and won a Grammy for the soundtrack album). He followed up with more film scores including “The Seven-Ups” and “Kansas City Bomber”.

There are moments from an archival video interview with Ells (who died in 1978 in Los Angeles at the young age of 44) held at Alfred University in 1978. And there are other brief moments from a public TV show (undated) produced by KQED-San Francisco titled “Music Art San Francisco” where Ellis and his band perform music among the art in an art museum.

The DVD provides a real nice “bonus”. The complete “Music Art San Francisco” film (running time is 57 minutes).

The DVD release comes from the German Arthaus Musik label, distributed in the US by Naxos. There is a 16-page booklet with photos, a 2-page intro by the Director and a four page essay on the musician, which is repeated in German.
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Format: DVD
There is no question in Jazz that Don Ellis was a iconic genius that has since his death in 1978 been forgotton. This DVD brings back to life his story of his music which was the first real fusion jazz ever produced. The award winning film takes the viewpoint that Ellis was and still is truely one of the Finest Musical Artists of the 20th Century. This DVD and the only Documentary made about Don Ellis is a must for fans of Jazz, Rock and everything in-between. CSPS-Media
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The main documentary has interviews with some of Ellis's bandmates and Maynard Ferguson. It's mostly about Ellis' music career with not too much personal bio included. Not the best video quality on some of the rare clips from TV broadcasts and all that but the sound quality of the music is quite good. The real treat here is in the extra features, a performance of the best 1960's Ellis band at its absolute peak recorded in a San Francisco museum. This concert is mind-blowing. One of the most incredibly virtuosic bands you will ever hear. This concert alone is worth the price of admission many times over. It's no wonder that some of Ellis' musicians such as Ralph Humphrey later went on to play with Zappa.
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Very well done..! One of the most creative and innovative composers in the history of jazz. It was a pleasant surprise to be able to buy this piece of history. Definitely a must-have for Don Ellis fans.
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In his blog, Richard S. Ginell puts am important question forward: "Why isn’t Don Ellis up there in the pantheon of big band jazz icons with Duke, Benny, the Count, Dizzy, Woody, Kenton and the others?" After seeing this documentary on the musical genius, I wonder why myself.
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