Among the flood of commemorative Duke Ellington related projects witnessed in 1999, we cite The Other Side of Ellington
as being one of the finer representations. Here, “Palmetto” recording artists, or perhaps – the “Palmetto All-Stars” turn in a decisively fresh and thoroughly attractive set of Ellington compositions along with one original by guitarist Pete McCann.......
The Quintet serve up a bluesy, laid back version of the Duke’s “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good” featuring guitarist Pete McCann’s country-blues style picking while McCann goes for the jugular on “Fleurette Africaine”. Here, tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm, pianist David Berkman display wit and elegance atop drummer Matt Wilson’s hybrid African/Latin rhythms. The Quintet get to the point in an expeditious manner on “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” as they swing hard underneath Frahm’s Bop-ish lines while bassist Ben Allison turns in a lyrically rich, heavy handed solo. McCann and Frahm are ablaze on “Wig Wise” which is also evident on the Quintet’s clever arrangement of Duke’s “Blues in Blueprint”. On this piece, McCann abruptly changes the tone and demeanor by launching into a soul/funk groove while articulating some crafty and quite tasty wah-wah electric guitar licks.
The Other Side of Ellington is a groovin’ affair that boasts an upbeat and thoroughly contemporary slant as it all comes together rather nicely! ......* * * *
David Berkman; Piano: Joel Frahm; Tenor & Soprano Saxophone: Ben Allison; Bass: Pete McCann; Guitar: Matt Wilson; Drums.