Jazz: Beat Me Daddy, 27 to the Bar

Avant-garde jazz nowadays makes a lot of noise and a lot of speed, but rhythmically it has scarcely moved out of the '20s; the boys are still thumping along mostly in a 4/4 beat. This old-fashioned conformity bothered Trumpeter-Composer Don Ellis, so he organized a 21-piece band in Los Angeles, beefed up the rhythm section (four drummers, three double bassists), and sent the meter flying. To the modern far-out sound of jazz, he has added an exciting rhythmic pulse by playing in meters with 5, 9, 11, 19 and even 27 beats to...

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