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Donald Johnson Ellis Edit Profile

trumpeter , arranger , composer.

Donald Johnson Ellis, American trumpeter, arranger, composer. Recipient first place award International Jazz Critics Poll, 1962; Grammy award for Theme from The French Connection (best instrumental arrangement), 1972; Distinguished Alumni award Boston University, 1978; Rockefeller grantee Center Creative and Performing Arts State University New York, Buffalo, 1964-1965. Member A.S.C.A.P., National Academy Recording Arts and Sciences.


Ellis, Donald Johnson was born on July 25, 1934 in Los Angeles, California, United States. Son of Evert Ezra and Winston E. (Johnson) Ellis.


Bachelor of Music, Boston University, 1956. Postgraduate University of California at Los Angeles, 1963-1964.


November 1971); children—Brav Johnson, Tran Robert. Trumpet player with numerous orchs., 1952-1966, including Glenn Miller, 1956, Charlie Barnet, Maynard Ferguson, 1958-1960. Numerous recordings with own groups, 1960-1966.

Leader Don Ellis Orchestra, from 1965. Soloist National Symphony Orchestra, Washington, 1962, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, 1963-1964, Los Angeles Philharmonic, 1967. Performed Los Angeles Music Center with Stan Kenton Neophonic Orchestra in original composition Synthesis, 1966.

Tours United States, Europe. Recording artist Candid, Prestige, Pacific Jazz, Columbia, MPS/Badische Anilin- & Soda-Fabrik, Atlantic records. Numerous television appearances including pilot Movin On, NBC series Doctor’s Hospital.


  • Other Work

    • Author: Rhythm, New Rhythm Book, Quartet Tones. Mus. drama Future: Tense!!. Composer works including Reach, a cantata, 1968.

      Music for Shirley McLaine Special, 1977. Movie score Moon Zero Two, The French Connection, Kansas City Bomber, Seven-Ups, Man Belongs to the Earth, French Connection II, Deadly Tower, Ruby, Assault on Paradise, Natural Enemies.


Member A.S.C.A.P., National Academy Recording Arts and Sciences.


Married Constance Cynthia Coogan, July 28, 1961 (divorced November 1971). Children: Brav Johnson, Tran Robert.

Evert Ezra Ellis

Winston E. (Johnson) Ellis

Constance Cynthia Coogan

Brav Johnson Ellis

Tran Robert Ellis