October 21, 1926
Somerville, New Jersey,
|Died||July 5, 1984
Don Elliott (October 21, 1926 in Somerville, New Jersey – July 5, 1984 in Weston, Connecticut) was an American jazz trumpeter, vibraphonist, vocalist, and mellophone player. His album Calypso Jazz is considered by some jazz enthusiasts to be one of the definitive calypso jazz albums. Elliott recorded over 60 albums and 5,000 advertising jingles throughout his career. Elliott was also a longtime associate of Quincy Jones, contributing vocal work in particular to many of Jones' film scores.
Elliott played mellophone in his high school band and played trumpet for an army band. After study at the University of Miami he added vibraphone to the list. He recorded with Terry Gibbs and Buddy Rich before forming his own band. From 1953 to 1960 he won the Down Beat readers poll several times for "miscellaneous instrument-mellophone."
Known as the "Human Instrument", Don Elliott additionally performed jazz as a vocalist, trombonist, flugelhornist and percussionist. He pioneered the art of multitrack recording, composed countless prize-winning advertising jingles, prepared film scores, and built a thriving production company. Elliott scored several Broadway productions, including James Thurber's The Beast in Me and A Thurber Carnival, in the latter of which he performed with the Don Elliott Quartet. He also provided one of the voices for the novelty jazz duo the Nutty Squirrels.
Elliott lent his vocal talents to such motion picture soundtracks as The Getaway starring Steve McQueen, $ (Dollars) starring Warren Beatty, The Hot Rock starring Robert Redford and The Happy Hooker starring Lynn Redgrave.
A more complete discography can be found at EliottOnElliott.com.
- Vibrations (Riverside, 1954)
- Doubles in Brass (Vanguard, 1954)
- The Don Elliott Quintet (RCA Victor, 1954)
- Mellophone (Bethlehem, 1955)
- Don Elliott Sings (Bethlehem, 1955)
- Counterpoint for Six Valves (Riverside, 1955) - with Rusty Dedrick (also released as Double Trumpet Doings)
- The Voice of Marty Bell - The Quartet of Don Elliott (Riverside, 1956)
- The Bob Corwin Quartet featuring the Trumpet of Don Elliott (Riverside, 1956)
- A Musical Offering (ABC, 1956)
- At the Modern Jazz Room (ABC, 1956)
- The Voices of Don Elliott (ABC, 1957)
- Music for the Sensational Sixties (Design Records, 1957)
- Jamaica Jazz (ABC-Paramount, 1958)
- The Mello Sound (Decca Records, 1958)
- The Nutty Squirrels (Hanover, 1959) with Alexander "Sascha" Burland
- Mr. Versatile
- Love is a Necessary Evil (Columbia, 1962)
- Rejuvenation (Columbia, 1975)
- Phil Bodner & Company: Fine & Dandy (Stash)
- Miles Davis: Quintet with Lee Konitz, Quartet with Jackie McLean (Fresh Sound Rec., 1948/1952)
- Paul Desmond: Quinet/Quartet featuring Don Elliott (OJC, 1956-57)
- Billy Taylor: My Fair Lady Loves Jazz (Impulse!, 1957)
- Billy Eckstine: Basin Street East (Emercy, 1961)
- Bill Evans & Don Elliott: Tenderly (Milestone, 1956-1957)
- Urbie Green: Newport Jazz Festival 1958 (Phontastic)
- Michel Legrand: Legrand Jazz (Philips, 1958)
- George Shearing: Verve Jazz Masters (Verve, 199-54)
- Marty Bell: With The Don Elliot Quartet (Riverside)
- Bob Corwin: Featuring Don Elliot (Riverside)
With Mundell Lowe
- Porgy & Bess (RCA Camden, 1958)
- "DON ELLIOT, 57, JAZZ SINGER, VIBRAPHONIST AND COMPOSER", The New York Times, July 6, 1984. Accessed December 9, 2007.
- Down Beat Readers Polls
- "Don Elliott". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
- "A Thurber Carnival". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Retrieved 2008-03-01.
- Thurber, James (1962). A Thurber Carnival. New York: Samuel French, Inc.
- Links to mp3s of Elliott's Nutty Squirrels/Cannonball Adderley session and a slowed-down Elliott scat solo
- The Middle Horn Leader, Biography of Don Elliott
- Don Elliott at Allmusic
- Eliott On Elliott, a fan website dedicated to Don Elliott