All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

6

Duke Ellington Orchestra: Big Bands Live

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
By 1967, the heyday of the big band was over. Rock and Roll ruled as the popular music of the day, and the financial challenges of keeping a large ensemble together for recording—and especially touring—were huge. But Duke Ellington—one of American's finest bandleaders, pianists, and composers—was more than just a genius in the field of music. He also succeeded as a business man, keeping his orchestra not only busy on the road, but also creating his finest art—what he called "American Music"—in the 1960s and 70s.

Big Bands Live: Duke Ellington Orchestra, is the second release from the Jazzhaus music label's "Big Bands Live" series, and it captures the group in top form in a previously unreleased 1967 concert recording in Stuttgart, Germany.

The fourteen-piece group opens with brief ride on the orchestra's theme, "Take the "A" Train," before launching into another Billy Strayhorn jewel, "Johnny Come Lately." Ellington sparkles on piano in front of John Lamb's walking bass, his spare elegance giving way to the orchestra that gathers momentum, sounding juiced up and full of fire as they feed off the enthusiastic audience.

For the most part, the thirteen tunes here aren't the most famous in the Ellington songbook and less than full-on Ellington fans probably won't recognize "Swamp Goo," "Rue Bleue," "The Shepherd," or "Kixx," which are all vintage Ellington compositions. The soloing is consistently first rate—Ellington's classy piano intros, trumpeter Cootie Williams' jungle cat growls, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney's deep, mellifluous little concertos, and Johnny Hodges' angelically beautiful alto saxophone.

The year 1967 saw the releases of a couple of extraordinary Ellington studio albums: ...and His Mother Called Him Bill (RCA ), and Far East Suite (Bluebird ); live and tearing it up, Big Bands Live: Duke Ellington Orchestra is a superb addition to this fertile period in Ellington's creative output.

Track Listing: Take the "A" Train; Johnny Come Lately; Swamp Goo; Knob Hill; Eggo; La Plus Belle Africaine; Rue Bleue; A Chromatic Love Affair; Salome; The Shepherd; Tutti for Cootie; Freakish Lights; Kixx.

Personnel: Duke Ellington: piano; Cat Anderson: trumpet; Cootie Williams: trumpet; Herbie Jones: trumpet; Mercer Ellington: trumpet; Paul Gonsalves: tenor saxophone; Johnny Hodges: alto saxophone; Harry Carney: baritone saxophone, clarinet; Russel Procope: clarinetr, alto saxophone; Jimmy Hamilton: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Chick Conners trombone; Lawence Brown: trombone; Buster Cooper: trombone; John Lamb: bass; Rufus Jones: drums.

Title: Big Bands Live | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: JazzHausMusik

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Pendulum CD/LP/Track Review
Pendulum
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Flow Vertical CD/LP/Track Review
Flow Vertical
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by Geannine Reid
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Christian McBride's New Jawn CD/LP/Track Review
Christian McBride's New Jawn
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 21, 2018
Read Bonafide CD/LP/Track Review
Bonafide
by David A. Orthmann
Published: November 21, 2018
Read The Sky Above Her CD/LP/Track Review
The Sky Above Her
by Troy Dostert
Published: November 20, 2018
Read "In The Green Castle" CD/LP/Track Review In The Green Castle
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 6, 2017
Read "Big" CD/LP/Track Review Big
by John Sharpe
Published: October 2, 2018
Read "A Journey" CD/LP/Track Review A Journey
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 15, 2018
Read "Challenger Deep" CD/LP/Track Review Challenger Deep
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 15, 2018
Read "Bright Force" CD/LP/Track Review Bright Force
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 30, 2018
Read "My Singing Fingers" CD/LP/Track Review My Singing Fingers
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 25, 2018