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.