Tooka-Ood Zasch (1990) by Bradford Terrance Ellis (b. 1963)
Above: Bradford Terrance Ellis, 1989 and 2018
Recorded in 1990, Metamusic, Los Angeles
PRISM Quartet (founding members)
Reginald Borik, soprano saxophone and EWI*
Michael Whitcombe, alto saxophone and EWI
Matthew Levy, tenor saxophone and EWI
Timothy Miller, baritone saxophone and EWI
*EWI: Electronic Wind Instrument
Bradford Terrance Ellis, synclavier
Record Label / Catalogue Number:
January 18, 2019
Bradford Terrance Ellis’s Tooka-Ood Zasch features the four founding members of the PRISM Quartet—Reginald Borik, Michael Whitcombe, Matthew Levy, and Timothy Miller—on both saxophones and EWIs (electronic wind instruments), playing over a soundtrack of percussion textures. Composed and recorded in 1990, the work highlights the quartet’s versatility as they move between acoustic and electronic instruments. Tooka-Ood Zasch opens with an African hand drum pattern that recalls the massive jam sessions held in San Francisco Bay area parks. Over this music, PRISM’s EWIs interject comical vocal samples, a series of absurd expressions (including “Tooka-Ood Zasch,” “The Hyundai painting party,” and “Lovey”) used by the composer and his inner circle of friends during their days as students at UCLA in the early 1980s. The second section is tongue-in-cheek, intentionally dated “funk” music which Ellis came to love as an adult. The work’s third section utilizes modulated piano samples to suggest Indonesian gamelan music. Tooka-Ood Zasch closes with a soothing rhythmic undercurrent featuring a tenor solo by PRISM’s Matthew Levy over a vocal, chorale-like background.
A graduate of the UCLA School of Music with degrees in piano performance and composition, Bradford Terrance Ellis has worked extensively on music for film and television, as well as multimedia projects and live theatre productions. Ellis has composed, orchestrated, and performed on numerous motion picture and television soundtracks, collaborating with composers Jack Nitzsche (Revenge, Mermaids, Indian Runner), Harry Greggson-Williams (Spy Game, Man on Fire), J. Peter Robinson (The Bank Job, Wayne’s World, Charmed), Michael Hoenig (Max Headroom, Dark Skies), and Joseph Vitarelli (The Last Seduction, John Adams). Ellis’s multimedia collaborations include a recent series of music videos by Jane Maru featuring ambient composer/poet Harold Budd. Ellis has performed live with the Daniel Lentz Group and was the featured soloist with the LA Philharmonic in the premiere of An American in Los Angeles, Lentz’s concerto for keyboard and orchestra.