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Milcho Leviev Plays the Music of Don Ellis

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Album Review

Trumpeter Don Ellis (1934-1978) led one of the most memorable big bands of all time; actually several of them. During 1965-1975, his orchestras blazed their own unusual path, becoming famous for their utilization of ridiculously complex time signatures (seven/four and nine/four were commonplace for those musicians), a mixture of acoustic and electronic instruments, and a crazy sense of humor. Milcho Leviev's musical career in the United States began when he emigrated from Bulgaria in 1971 to join Don Ellis' band. Leviev found the unusual time signatures to be second nature and he was featured on "Bulgarian Bulge." A virtuoso who, like Ellis, could shift easily between classical music and jazz, folk and some pop, Leviev became one of the most notable graduates from the Ellis Orchestra. Multiple Personalities: Milcho Leviev Plays the Music of Don Ellis is an unusual project because, in addition to solo piano remakes of a few Ellis big-band numbers (including "Pussy Wiggle Stomp," "Indian Lady" and "Invincible"), Leviev was chosen to debut some Don Ellis pieces that were written specifically for the piano. Some are in four/four and a bit boppish, while the final two numbers ("Rain Forest" and "Sugar's Lullaby") are completely written-out classical-oriented works. Leviev's creative imagination uplifts many of the pieces although none of the new works are destined to become future standards. "Blues in Elf," his heartfelt tribute to Ellis on "Pavane for a True Musical Prince," and his two renditions of "Simple Samba" take honors. This set is well-worth exploring. Now if only a brave soul would organize the New Don Ellis Orchestra!


Born: 19 December 1937 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The exotic rhythms of Bulgarian music are combined with the improvisations of jazz through the piano and keyboard playing of Milcho Leviev. A member of Don Ellis' band in the 1970s and a well-traveled sideman for Billy Cobham, Art Pepper and Al Jarreau and leader of jazz-rock band, Free Flight, in the 1980s, Leviev has continued with his cross-cultural musical experiments.. In addition to leading his own trio, featuring bassist Jamie Faust and drummer Dick Weller, Leviev has performed with the Leviev-Slon...
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Milcho Leviev Plays the Music of Don Ellis, Milcho Leviev
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 29 August 2006

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