Herb Ellis – Ellis in Wonderland (Full Album)

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Ellis in Wonderland is the debut album by jazz guitarist Herb Ellis, accompanied by the Oscar Peterson trio, trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, and saxophonists Charlie Mariano and Jimmy Giuffre.

AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden:
In the midst of his tenure with the Oscar Peterson Trio, Herb Ellis had the chance to turn the tables on his boss and employ him as a sideman, though the keyboard virtuoso strangely reigns in his chops and pretty much stays in the background. This pair of sessions was first issued on a Norgran LP and finally reissued as a Verve CD in early 2006. The first four tracks add Jimmy Giuffre (alternating between baritone sax, tenor sax, and clarinet) and trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison, along with fellow Peterson sideman Ray Brown and drummer Alvin Stoller. Ellis’ originals include the easygoing “Sweetheart Blues” and the cooking bop vehicle “Pogo,” where both the leader and Edison eclipse Giuffre’s efforts on sax. “It Could Happen to You” focuses exclusively on Ellis, with Peterson and Edison sitting out and Giuffre adding some background color on clarinet. Alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano is added for the latter date. The well-known “Detour Ahead” (jointly credited to Ellis and his former Soft Winds bandmates Lou Carter and Johnny Frigo, though Frigo has long maintained that it was his composition alone) has a chamber-like setting, with the band primarily providing background for Ellis, though Ray Brown gets in a snappy solo toward the end. The session picks up with the bubbly “Ellis in Wonderland” and a snappy rendition of “Have You Met Miss Jones?” Giuffre’s loping “A Simple Tune” reflects Ellis’ Texas roots in a bluesy setting, with Peterson finally getting a chance to stretch out for a chorus. This early album by Herb Ellis is well worth acquiring (http://www.allmusic.com/album/ellis-in-wonderland-mw0000264876).

Track listing:
“Sweetheart Blues” (Herb Ellis) – 4:46
“Somebody Loves Me” (Buddy DeSylva, George Gershwin, Ballard MacDonald) – 4:55
“It Could Happen to You” (Johnny Burke, Jimmy Van Heusen) – 3:47
“Pogo” (Ellis) – 4:45
“Detour Ahead” (Lou Carter, Ellis, Johnny Frigo) – 4:03
“Ellis in Wonderland” (Ellis) – 3:52
“Have You Met Miss Jones?” (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers) – 6:20
“A Simple Tune” (Jimmy Giuffre) – 4:11

Herb Ellis – guitar
Jimmy Giuffre – baritone saxophone, tenor saxophone, clarinet
Harry “Sweets” Edison – trumpet
Charlie Mariano – alto saxophone
Oscar Peterson – piano
Ray Brown – bass
Alvin Stoller – drums

Released: 1956
Recorded: December 28, 1955, January 3, 1956
Length: 48:45
Label: Norgran
Producer: Ken Druker