Don Elliott

Don Elliott ( born October 21, 1926 in Somerville (New Jersey) as Don Elliott Helfman, † July 5, 1984 in Weston (Connecticut) ) was an American jazz trumpeter, flugelhorn player, vibraphonist, vocalist and Mellophonspieler as well as composer, arranger and producer.

Life and work

Don Elliott had as a child piano and accordion lessons, Mellophon played in high school band, and later trumpet in the U.S. Army. He studied at the Juilliard School of Music and at the University of Miami Arrangement; his professional career began as a vibraphone player. In 1948 he played at the Jan Raye trio was 1948/49, a singer in the formation Hi, Lo, Jack & The Dame and played the trumpet and vibraphone at a radio station. 1950/51 he worked with George Shearing, Teddy Wilson, Terry Gibbs and Buddy Rich; after which he formed his own band and recorded the album Tenderly with Bill Evans. He also was involved in recordings with Paul Desmond, Urbie Green, Michel Legrand, Billy Eckstine and Miles Davis, Jackie McLean. From 1953 to 1960 he won several times as Mellophonspieler the Downbeat Readers Poll in the category " miscellaneous instrument".

In addition to his main instruments, trumpet / flugelhorn, Mellophone and vibraphone, Elliott played trombone and percussion, in addition, he worked as a singer. Elliott was a pioneer of multi-track recording technique ( he mixed his voice polyphonic choirs ), composed countless jingles, worked on film scripts with as well as a composer on Broadway (theater). Elliott's voices can be heard in use various film soundtracks like in the movies Getaway, The Million robbery, Hot Rock and The Happy Hooker. Elliott had its own recording studios in New York City and Weston, Connecticut. Throughout his career, he recorded more than 60 albums and 5,000 advertising jingles.


  • Counterpoint for Six Valves ( Riverside Records, 1955)
  • New Counterpoint for Six Valves ( Riverside Records, 1956)
  • Double Trumpet Doings ( Jazzland Records, 1960)
  • Phil Bodner & Company: Fine and 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 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 )