This is a crazy and consistently riotous two-disc set that features the Don Ellis Orchestra at its height. The 20-piece orchestra (with trumpeter Ellis doubling on drums along with a regular drummer and two percussionists) often used electronic devices (such as ring modulators) at the time to really distort its sound. When coupled with odd time signatures and such exuberant soloists as Ellis, trombonist Glenn Ferris, tenor saxophonist John Klemmer (showcased on the remarkable "Excursion II"), guitarist Jay Graydon, altoists Fred Selden and Lonnie Shetter, and tenor Sam Falzone, the results are quite memorable. Highlights of the date include "Final Analysis" (which contains a countless number of false endings), a bizarre rendition of "Hey Jude," and an often hilarious remake of "Pussy Wiggle Stomp." In 2005, the Wounded Bird label reissued this session on CD for the first time.
Sometimes a disc's title can be just a bit too clever for its own good. From a glance at this disc's cover, with its title "Le Chant de Virgile", you'd never know that it contained first class works by Josquin, Senfl, Lassus, Mouton, Willaert, and Cipriano de Rore, among others. Sure, when you read the fine print on the reverse side of the disc packaging, you discover that the program is a celebration of Renaissance works whose texts are drawn from "Virgil, Horace, and Catullus"–but why not make this clear from the outset?