Trumpeter wgo was well-known experimental musician, remembered for his use of unusual time signatures.
He watched a Tommy Dorsey Big Band performance and immediately became interested in jazz; in 1956, he received his composition degree from Boston University.
The first musical performance job he had was with the Glenn Miller Band.
His father was a minister and his mother played organ in churches.
His orchestra's 1969 album, The Don Ellis Band Goes Underground, featured work by many different popular musicians, including Sly Stone.