This Day in History: 1978-12-17

Don Ellis, American jazz trumpeter, joined the Glenn Miller Band in 1956, served in the military as a musician in Frankfurt, Germany, after leaving the army, worked with Charlie Barnet, Claude Thornhill, Woody Herman, joined Maynard Ferguson’s band, became involved in avant-garde jazz with Charles Mingus, George Russell and Eric Dolphy, soloed with the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra, studied ethnomusicology at UCLA, composed Contrasts for Two Orchestras and Trumpet (debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic), led the Hindustani Jazz Sextet, then the Don Ellis Orchestra, began playing a 4-valved quarter-tone trumpet, died in Hollywood, California.