6

Duke Ellington Orchestra: Big Bands Live

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Duke Ellington Orchestra: Big Bands Live
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.

Album information

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

Post a comment about this album

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read An Open Dialogue
An Open Dialogue
Linda Sikhakhane
Read Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah!
The Claire Daly Band
Read Artlessly Falling
Artlessly Falling
Mary Halvorson's Code Girl
Read Hi-Fly
Hi-Fly
Howard University Jazz Ensemble
Read And Then It Rained
And Then It Rained
The Michael O'Neill Quartet
Read You're It!
You're It!
The Mike Melito / Dino Losito Quartet
Read URBAN(E)
URBAN(E)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.