One of Duke Ellington's finest small group sessions from his final decade was this frequently exciting quartet date with guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson. Ellington's percussive style always sounded modern and he comes up with consistently strong solos on such numbers as "Love You Madly," "The Hawk Talks" and especially "Cotton Tail," easily keeping up with his younger sidemen. Highly recommended.
This two-DVD set includes several rare films featuring Duke Ellington in several different settings. Disc one documents his first appearance in the French Riviera at the Côte d'Azur in July 1966, with the pianist making intermittent commentary via voice-over between some selections. While the leader is stuck with an obviously substandard piano (with a horrid muddy bass range) and an outdoor setup that is not conducive to getting ideal sound, Ellington, being an old pro, does his best to make do with the conditions.
One of Duke Ellington's finest small group sessions from his final decade was this frequently exciting quartet date with guitarist Joe Pass, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson. Ellington's percussive style always sounded modern and he comes up with consistently strong solos on such numbers as "Love You Madly," "The Hawk Talks" and especially "Cotton Tail," easily keeping up with his younger sidemen. Highly recommended. ~ AllMusic
La Maison du Duke is proud to present a collection of unpublished recordings of Duke Ellington, which come from an important stock of Ellington archives (Clavié collection), acquired by the association, which only a few collectors had access to today . The CDs are reserved for members of the Maison du Duke association and are not intended to be marketed.
This oddly titled CD (which was issued in 1997, hardly the 20th anniversary of Duke Ellington's death in 1974), seems to be a recording that was made by a member of the sound crew for a 1963 concert in Switzerland, including roughly the first half of the show. Although the instruments are all audible, the rhythm section is picked up far better than the reeds or brass on several selections, which also have been resequenced instead of leaving them in the order in which they were performed. On these tracks, the microphones sound as if they are at the back of the stage, making the full band sound rather muffled. Yet clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton is very audible in "Silk Lace," while members of the brass section play various percussion instruments to back violinist Ray Nance in the exotic "Guitar Amour."
This album has an excellent performance by the Duke Ellington Orchestra at a time when its commercial fortunes were near the bottom. The struggles however are not reflected in the music, which is full of enthusiasm and creative invention with trumpeter Clark Terry, tenorman Paul Gonsalves and trombonist Britt Woodman (on "Theme for Trambean") standing out among the many stars during a well-paced program.
Duke Ellington is featured in a complete performance at Basin Street East in New York City on this CD, as it was originally broadcast on WNEW, complete with his verbal exchanges with host William B. Williams. Unlike many of his concerts, there is no long medley of hits; instead, Ellington offers an interesting mix of old and new songs. The newer material includes his "gutbucket bolero," known as "Afro Bossa" (also titled "Bula"), featuring the gruff, muted trumpet of Cootie Williams, and the high-note theatrics of Cat Anderson. "Silk Lace" is a brisk rhumba featuring clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton, while the band (except for the rhythm section) sits out Ellington's masterful ballad "A Single Petal of a Rose."
During the 1960s and early '70s, Duke Ellington toured his orchestra all over the world, widening and broadening the scope of his travels to include as many nations as humanly possible. BGO's 1999 release, The English Concert contains music that was actually recorded at three different concerts. The first occurred at the Odeon Theatre in Bristol England on October 22, 1971; the other two performances, presumably a matinee and evening show, both took place at the Birmingham Theatre in Birmingham on October 24, 1971.
This two-LP set lives up to its title. First Duke Ellington and his orchestra are heard in 1952 during a period when they were being overlooked by the jazz media but still producing a great deal of worthy music. The second half of this release is taken from a European tour in 1965 and features some prime late-period playing from trumpeter Cootie Williams.