Esteemed internationally for his pioneering use of double bass drums and phenomenal technique, Louis Bellson has also been long regarded as an accomplished composer. Bellson (b. Luigi Balassoni, 1924) contributed two important originals, "The Hawk Talks" and "Skin Deep," to the repertoire of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, in which he starred from 1951 to 1953. In the liner notes herein, Bellson acknowledges a debt to Ellington, "as is obvious by the voicings and structure," but the 21-piece orchestra he pilots on this 1978 session cuts loose with its own thoroughly modern mainstream-to-bebop attack. Packed with the crème de la crème of L.A. studio-jazz mavens (including two additional percussionists who superbly complement the leader), the band offers a host of estimable soloists. Bellson himself is in especially dazzling form; on the drum solo during the title suite's Fourth Movement he blazes and thunders like fireworks across the night sky on Independence Day.
with Ross Tompkins, Grant Geissman, Joel Di Bartolo, Conte Candoli, Walter Johnson, Ron King, Bobby Shew, Snooky Young, William C. Booth, Gil Falco, Dana Hughes, Alan Kaplan, Robert Payne, Pete Christlieb, Andy Mackintosh, Don Menza, Joe Romano, Richard Spencer, John E. Arnold, Robert Zimmitti