237

Duke Ellington: The Essential Duke Ellington

Ken Dryden By

Sign in to view read count
Duke Ellington: The Essential Duke Ellington Anytime the term "essential" is utilized in a compilation of an artist's work, critics are ready to second-guess it. But this two-CD set issued by Columbia/Legacy, now a part of the parent company Sony-BMG, represents a good cross-section of Duke Ellington's studio recordings and even licenses a few tracks from other companies to fill some gaps, spanning from 1927-60.

Ellington's compositions have stood the test of time rather well, due to his gift for unique voicings and ability to compose features that matched his soloists' abilities. While there are plenty of definitive interpretations of many of his best-known works, it's a special treat to hear Johnny Hodges play soprano sax (which he gave up after 1940) on several songs, especially the tasty blues "Tired Socks (from a small band date led by the saxophonist). Cootie Williams, Bubber Miley, Ben Webster, Harry Carney and other greats are also showcased, along with the pianist himself.

The one shortcoming is that Loren Schoenberg's liner notes don't name many of the soloists, probably due to lack of space. The sound restoration is excellent and there are lots of photographs. Serious Ellington fans will already have this music in their collections, but this compilation will be of interest to the casual jazz enthusiast.


Track Listing: East St. Louis Toodle-Oo: Black and Tan Fantasy; Take It Easy; Hot and Bothered; The Mooche; Rockin' in Rhythm; Creole Rhapsody; It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing); Creole Love Call; Sophisticated Lady; Drop Me Off in Harlem; In a Sentimental Mood; Back Room Romp; Clouds in My Heart; Echoes of Harlem; Caravan; Blue Reverie; Diminuendo in Blue; Crescendo in Blue; I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart; Pyramid; Prelude to a Kiss; Tired Socks; Mood Indigo; Ko Ko; Don't Get Around Much Anymore; Cotton Tail; Take the A Train; Harlem Air-Shaft; Do Nothin' 'Til You Hear From Me; Satin Doll; Perdido; Come Sunday; Jeep's Blues; Black Beauty; Arabesque Cookie.

Personnel: Duke Ellington: piano, arranger, tom-tom; Billy Strayhorn: piano, arranger; Ray Nance: trumpet, violin, cornet; Juan Tizol: tambourine, valve trombone; Barney Bigard, Jimmy Hamilton: clarinet, tenor saxophone; Harry Carney: clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, baritone saxophone; Russell Procope: clarinet, alto saxophone, bamboo whistle; Rudy Jackson: clarinet, alto saxophone; Hilton Jefferson, Rick Henderson, Bill Graham: alto saxophone; Otto Hardwick: clarinet, alto saxophone, bass saxophone, tenor saxophone; Johnny Hodges: clarinet, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone; Paul Gonsalves, Al Sears, Ben Webster: tenor saxophone; Cat Anderson, Harold Baker, Wilber Bascombe, Willie Cook, Harold Grimes, Shelton Hemphill, Freddy Jenkins, Wallace Jones, Wardell Jones, Andres Meringuito, Louis Metcalf, Bubber Miley, Eddie Mullins, Jabbo Smith, Clark Terry, Arthur Whetsol, Cootie Williams, Francis Williams: trumpet; Rex Stewart: cornet; Lawrence Brown, Tyree Glenn, Quentin Jackson, Claude Jones, John Sanders, Booty Wood, Britt Woodman: trombone; Ivie Anderson, Baby Cox, Al Hibbler: vocals; Brick Fleagle, Lonnie Johnson: guitar; Fred Guy: banjo, guitar; Bass Edwards: tuba; Hayes Alvis, Aaron Bell, Jimmy Blanton, Wellman Braud, Wendell Marshall, Billy Taylor, Sr., Jimmy Woode: bass; Fred Avendorf, Butch Ballard, Louie Bellson, Sonny Greer, Jack Maisel, Sam Woodyard: drums.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sony BMG Legacy | Style: Big Band


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Take Me To The Alley" CD/LP/Track Review Take Me To The Alley
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 10, 2016
Read "Unspoken" CD/LP/Track Review Unspoken
by Andrew Luhn
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "That Feelin'" CD/LP/Track Review That Feelin'
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 7, 2016
Read "Porto da Madama" CD/LP/Track Review Porto da Madama
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 25, 2016
Read "Chicago II" CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Live At the Stone" CD/LP/Track Review Live At the Stone
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

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!