459

Duke Ellington: The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1927-1973)

By

Sign in to view read count
Edward Kennedy Ellington came into this world on April 29th, 1899. On this hundredth anniversary of his birth, it's important to remember that Duke Ellington was the greatest jazz bandleader/composer that America has ever seen. While there are a slew of great CD re-issues being made available to commemorate the Duke's immense contribution to jazz, none are as far reaching and comprehensive as "The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: The Complete RCA Victor Recordings (1927-1973)". Duke wrote more than 2000 compositions in his life and released countless albums for a variety of different record labels, but his relationship with RCA endured (albeit sporadically) for nearly a half century. This extensive 24-CD set comes with a handsome 128-page book and captures Duke from the dawning of his illustrious career and follows the master through almost every musical turn he took until the end of his extraordinary life.

The collection begins with Ellington's classic "Cotton Club" phase, which cannot be overemphasized as essential listening for any and all music lovers. The first seven discs were recorded between 1927 and 1934 when the Ellington band was brimming with variety, energy and host of distinctive musicians. Whether showcasing the expressive plunger trumpet of Bubber Miley, the growling trombone of Tricky Sam Nanton or the sweet vocals of Ivie Anderson, Duke's ornate sound thrust jazz headlong into the 20th century with unanticipated vigor. Blending sophisticated horn arrangements with frenzied jungle rhythms, joyful singing, and expressive soloing; the early Ellington ensemble set a towering musical standard that is still cherished today.

Although the band's personnel would change a great deal over the years, many musicians (like altoist Johnny Hodges and baritone saxophonist Harry Carney) worked with Ellington for decades. The band's recordings from the 40's (often considered their best ever) are well represented here with brilliant performances from legendary bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor star Ben Webster. Many of these prime 40's recordings profited from the writing and arrangements of Ellington's musical soul mate, Billy Strayhorn. While Ellington's Sacred Concerts take up four full discs and are an acquired taste at best, the non-religious performances from this same period (especially "The Far East Suite") are stately and impressive.

Buying this gigantic CD collection is not important. Listening to Duke Ellington is. Remember that all modern jazz stems from this man's accomplishments. Now, get with the program and pay your respects to the true spirit of jazz!



Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn CD/LP/Track Review Estonian Suite: Live In Tallinn
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 18, 2017
Read The Princess CD/LP/Track Review The Princess
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Queen City Blues CD/LP/Track Review Queen City Blues
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Latin Lover CD/LP/Track Review Latin Lover
by Rob Rosenblum
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Reclamation CD/LP/Track Review Reclamation
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 18, 2017
Read Provenance CD/LP/Track Review Provenance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 17, 2017
Read "Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis & Original Compositions" CD/LP/Track Review Live: SFJAZZ Center 2016 - Music of Miles Davis &...
by John Kelman
Published: June 13, 2017
Read "Schlitten" CD/LP/Track Review Schlitten
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 24, 2017
Read "Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant'Anna Arresi 2004
by Mark Corroto
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Change Of Address" CD/LP/Track Review Change Of Address
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 6, 2017
Read "Repeater" CD/LP/Track Review Repeater
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Landed in Brooklyn" CD/LP/Track Review Landed in Brooklyn
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 3, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.

Please support out sponsor