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Don Ellis led some of the most colorful big bands of the 1966-78 period. Ellis's big bands were distinguished by their unusual instrumentation, the exploitation of unusual time signatures, its occasional humor and openness towards using rock rhythms and electronics. His orchestra achieved enormous popular appeal at a time when the influence of big band music was noticeably fading. Ellis applied his knowledge of the music of non-Western cultures to the rhythmic language of jazz. He was one of the first to have accomplished such a fusion of ideas, and his works stand as a memorial reflecting a significant stage in the evolution of jazz.

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