Planet Jazz was founded by the unsung New York drummer Johnny Ellis, who died in 1999 at age 44. But thanks to Ellis’ erstwhile bandmates, this dynamic straightahead combo continues, giving us In Orbit. Five of the disc’s eight tracks were penned by Ellis, and their titles alone-“The Cow Is Now,” “The Lemur Is a Dreamer,” “The Squirrel Is a Girl”-say much about the late composer’s eccentric vibe. Pianist Spike Wilner offers a personal remembrance in his aptly phrased liner notes.
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