jock ellis

Jock Ellis played and recorded with Frank Zappa. He took part in the Royce Hall gigs and also in several other sessions at the record plant in L.A. around 1975-76.



  dave mason: dave mason
    (1974, lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis
  mark almond: to the heart
    (1976, lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis
  robbie krieger: robbie krieger & friends
    (1977, lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis 
  frank zappa: orchestral favorites (27)
   (1979, lp, usa, discreet)
  funzone: funzone
    ( ???? , lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis
  frank zappa: the guitar world according to frank zappa
    (1987, mc, usa, ??)
  h.m.a. salsa-jazz orchestra: california salsa
    (1992, lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis
  h.m.a. salsa-jazz orchestra: california salsa II
    (1994, lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis 


frank zappa: lδther
   (1996, 3cd, usa, ryko)
  steve march: lucky
    (????, lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis
  alan parker: band of angels
    (????, lp, usa, ??) – feat. jock ellis

random notes

Jock Ellis has worked with Gary Barone, Ernie Tack, Alan Parker, Wolfgang Melz, Steve March, Jim Gordon, Bob Glaub, Funzone, Sal Marquez, H.M.A. Salsa-Jazz Orchestra, Dave Mason, Mark-Almond, Robbie Krieger, and Frank Zappa.

     From: Jock Ellis (

I feel somewhat jive doing this BUT.. I was involved (Trombone) with Frank on the Royce Hall gigs (Orchestral Favorites and several other titles) and several other sessions at the record plant in L.A. around 1975-76. This was a version of the giant Hot Rats or (check spelling) Abnucleous (something) Orchestra,  As was the following group of trombones- Bruce Fowler, Jock Ellis, Dana Hughes, Glenn Ferris, Don Waldrop.. We did Gregory Peccary , soft brown clouds etc. I also recorded with Frank alone at the Record Plant. I don't know if that stuff was ever released. He had me play the riff from "Satisfaction" as loud as 100 elephants and was greatly amused.

Since Frank was having shit with Herbie Cohen and Warners, these tunes were never put out cohesively and I never got liner credits.

The Band...O.K. Cutie Pam what a good Violist !! A one of a kind. As I remember, the rhythm section included George Duke, Dave Parlato, Terry Bozzio and or Chester Thompson. For some reason all I can remember of trumpets was Malcolm. I think Mike Altschul, Ray Pizzi and Earle Dumler were there on reeds.

Royce Hall is actually a fairly big concert hall with a HUGE much too deep stage grand for opera. It is the main serious concert hall at UCLA. As L.A. goes it's pretty old and was actually damaged pretty well by the Northridge Ride.

Some of those tapes were actually recorded at the Record Plant. We recorded both Live in concert at Royce and at the Plant.  He interspliced versions from both.  The Record plant on 3rd in L.A. had 1 big room.

And I don't remember dates.

Fucking Frank even stopped the band about 1 minute into a piece because he didn't like the way it sounded in front of an audience of 2000.  Now this was when he was trying to do some serious music. I had brought a good friend of mine, John Rubinstein who is a very knowledgeable concert goer and a fellow musician. He was offended as a listener. Some would give it the old thumbs up for the FZ Fuck You, however he was just thinking of it as a session and wanted another take.

Another thing. Frank was terribly self effacing about his conducting. He didn't have any of the usual movements but was quite easy to interpret (i have played lotza classical). He hired this Bozo Michael Zearot who was a terrible conductor who didn't get it. Frank had this mistaken impression that once he crossed over into serious music to conduct it he needed a student of the style.  Mike Zearot didn't get any of the grooves in the music. The music was horribly difficult and involved many time signature and extremely difficult and complicated rhythms. As bad as any Schoenberg or Webern or Don Ellis for that matter. That's why he got readers for his stuff. He took normal improvisations in music and put the to pen. It's all written out very few solos on those sessions. However it had grooves and unfortunately they aren't there from Zearot.

My recollection of the Orchestra is 4 piece string section. about 4 woodwind players. 4 trombones & tuba. 3 trumpets. I think he had 2 french horns. 2 guitars (counting him). bass. drums. percussion. Maybe 2 or 3 more that's about it. Sort of like a big band w/electrified string quartet.

One last little tiddie. I had just had the release of my own bands record on First Artists, "Funzone", it was an ill fated venture. I was in bed with a little nublit and at about 5:30 a.m. the phone rang. It was Frank. "How would you like to go on the road with me for work with a capital W ?" I said " Oh shit well what errr who err.." he said " I don't know, you are the first guy I've called and I'd like you in the band". I will never forget this because I had to say "Oh shit Frank I'd really like to do it but my album just came out , I've got a billboard on Sunset, I can't split now, maybe another time" He said "Well this is now". 6 Months later my record company had folded. It was at a time when FZ & I got along famously and laughed alot. I always wonder how life might have changed.


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