25 July 1934, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 17 December 1978, Hollywood, California, USA. Appreciation of Ellis work has increased since his death and he is now regarded by many as an important figure in jazz. From childhood he was fascinated with brass instruments and received a trumpet at the age of two. At junior high school he had his own quartet and at Boston university he was a member of the band. His first professional work was as a member of Ray McKinleys Glenn Miller Orchestra. After his national service, Ellis formed a small group, playing coffee-houses in New Yorks Greenwich Village. By the late 50s he was playing with many name bands including those of Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton, Charles Mingus and Maynard Ferguson. Ellis also worked in small groups, enjoying the greater freedom of expression this allowed. In 1961/2 he was a member of George Russells sextet.
In Atlantic City, Ellis took up a teaching...