92

The Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra: Ellington Celebration

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
While the number of recorded tributes to Duke Ellington last year during hundredth anniversary of the late maestro’s birth was truly enormous, there’s always room for one more, especially when it’s as well–designed and picturesque as this one by the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra. The KJRO travels backward as far as 1927 to recreate Ellington’s earliest version of “Black and Tan Fantasy” and ranges forward to 1970 to touch up his handsome “Portrait of Louis Armstrong.” The arrangements are faithful to the Duke’s purpose, with most of them meticulously transcribed by co–director Dick Domek, David Berger, Mark Lopeman, Gunther Schuller, Alan Campbell or Raleigh Dailey. The wide–ranging program embraces a number of Ellington’s loveliest and most popular melodies (“Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Prelude to a Kiss”) and several lesser–heard but no less scintillating gems including “Stevedore Stomp” (from 1929), “Ring Dem Bells” (1930), “Daybreak Express” (1933), “Merry–Go–Round” (1934), “Reflections in D” (1953), “Track 360” (1958), “Blues in Blueprint” (1958) and “Grace Valse” (from the 1959 film Anatomy of a Murder ). “The Mooche” is there too, as are “Rockin’ in Rhythm,” “Drop Me Off in Harlem,” “Concerto for Cootie” and a trio of songs written for the Ellington orchestra by alter ego Billy Strayhorn (“Blues in Orbit”), Juan Tizol (“Bakiff”) and son Mercer Ellington (“Blue Serge”). Guest artist Vince DiMartino is an excellent surrogate for trumpeters Cootie Williams (“Concerto for Cootie”) and Louis Armstrong (“Portrait of Louis”) while co–director Miles Osland effectively mimics Johnny Hodges’ amorous alto on “Prelude to a Kiss.” Osland moves to clarinet for the main theme from Anatomy of a Murder, on which he, Martino and Domek (piano) are the soloists. “Reflections in D,” for unaccompanied piano, is played by Dailey who also transcribed. The ensemble is lodged in a flawless Ellington groove, while the music speaks for itself. Another brightly wrapped birthday present for the Duke.

Track listing: Stevedore Stomp; Black and Tan Fantasy (1927); Black and Tan Fantasy (1945); The Mooche; Mood Indigo; Ring Dem Bells; Rockin’ in Rhythm; Sophisticated Lady; Drop Me Off in Harlem; Merry–Go–Round; Daybreak Express; Track 360; Concerto for Cootie; Prelude to a Kiss; Portrait of Louis Armstrong; Bakiff; Blue Serge; Reflections in D; Blues in Orbit; Blues in Blueprint; Grace Valse; Anatomy of a Murder (78:20).

Personnel:

Miles Osland, co

| Record Label: Sea Breeze Jazz | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix" CD/LP/Track Review The Gil Evans Orchestra Plays the Music of Jimi Hendrix
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: August 23, 2016
Read "Under the Influence" CD/LP/Track Review Under the Influence
by Doug Collette
Published: July 2, 2016
Read "In Layers" CD/LP/Track Review In Layers
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 13, 2017
Read "Psichedelica" CD/LP/Track Review Psichedelica
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 23, 2016
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Wonders" CD/LP/Track Review Wonders
by Mark F. Turner
Published: August 12, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!