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Repertory ensembles perform a vital function in our society. They help us to retain the true art of our culture instead of falling prey to periodic fads and daily hype. True, their work is not brand-new or leading edge; but it’s certainly fresh, unique, and always welcome. The selections on Ellington Celebration were transcribed meticulously and are reproduced in this new recording with care taken to emulate the original ensemble blend without the customary vain attempts at copying the masters. Like Duke Ellington’s bands, the individuals play an important part through call & response, solos and counterpoint. Memories of Lawrence Brown, Johnny Hodges, Cat Anderson, Harry Carney, Bubber Miley, Sonny Greer’s temple blocks... These individuals remain in our collective memory and are served well through the repertory orchestra’s soloists. Key individual performances are offered by Vince DiMartino on trumpet, Miles Osland on alto saxophone, Dick Domek on piano, and Lisa Parent Osland on baritone sax and bass clarinet. Pianist Raleigh Dailey performs "Reflections in D" alone and somber with a subtle arco bass accompaniment. A few of Ellington’s lesser-known works round out the album, adding to the session’s value: "Stevedore Stomp," Juan Tizol’s "Bakiff," "Portrait of Louis Armstrong," "Track 360" and "Grace Valse" from Ellington’s score for Anatomy Of A Murder. As an educational tool with comprehensive narration, this recommended centenary tribute serves to perpetuate America’s classical music while offering the listener quality and good taste.
Track Listing: Stevedore Stomp; Black and Tan Fantasy; Black and Tan Fantasy; The Mooche; Mood Indigo; Ring Dem Bells; Rockin
Personnel: Dick Domek- piano, vocal scatting on "Ring Dem Bells," narration; Miles Osland- soprano sax, alto sax, clarinet, fingersnaps on "Blues in Blueprint"; Hunt Butler- alto sax, clarinet; Gordon Towell, David Anderson- tenor sax, clarinet; Lisa Parent Osland- alto sax, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Terry Everson, Rolf Holly, Steve Bottom, Rick Cook, Josh Thompson- trumpet; Dale Warren, David Henderson- trombone; Louis "Hap" Bourgois- tenor trombone, valve trombone, train whistle; Raleigh Dailey- piano, celeste, bells; Dan Brock- guitar, banjo; Larry Nelson- bass; Jason Tiemann- drums, percussion; Zach Brock- violin on "Bakiff;" Vince DiMartino- trumpet on "Concerto for Cootie," "Portrait of Louis Armstrong" and "Anatomy of a Murder."
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.