I compiled a “Heavy” duty dose of Duke Ellington to make you feel better than ever. A potent mixture of the highest quality with that hardcore effect so you can enjoy Duke Ellington further more. But in reality, this is just a minute sedative compared to all his achievements. After all, experts cannot even determine how many songs Duke Ellington composed, they estimate over 4,000. Not to mention, he co-wrote, arranged and rearranged many, many more with Billy Strayhorn, another giant Jazz composer.
Note to all new readers of the Cubanology MediaBlog: All the podcasts are located in the beginning and end of the post. I suggest opening up the podcast by clicking on “Play in new window” so you can scroll through the post itself and visit the links and/or go on with your business and listen in the background. Thank you and enjoy!
1. “Track 360 2. “C Jam Blues” 3. “The Swinger’s Jump” 4. Three J’s Blues” 5. “Pie Eye’s Blues” From the Duke Ellington “Blues in Orbit” CD Album.
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BLUES IN ORBIT is a spectacular, well-rounded assembly of early and latter-day Ellington material. Most of these recordings were made in 1959, when the popularity of the LP was changing the ways in which music was conceived and made. While Ellington is known for his “extended works,” most of the tracks here resemble–in form, length, and feel–the style of the musician’s early catalog. Spacious, conversational pieces (such as the title track) and the slinky exotica of “Smada” fit nicely alongside such favorites and standards as “C Jam Blues,” “Sentimental Lady,” and “In A Mellotone.”
Pacing and tone vary according to the standard Ellington program scheme. Wailing up-tempo blues (“Pie Eye’s Blues,” “Three J’s Blues”-in which instrumentalists Jimmy Hamilton and Ray Nance get to stretch a bit) alternate with tracks such as the meltingly beautiful “Brown Penny,” this last number featuring an incomparable solo by Johnny Hodges. Ellington delivers with grace, prowess, and supreme creativity, and BLUES IN ORBIT, with its superb playing and diverse, wonderful track list, is a keeper…….Read More
6. “One O’Clock Jump” 7. “Bonga” 8. “Tricky’s List” 9. “Blues in C” 10. “Take the A Train” 11. “Fly me to the Moon” 12. ” More” 13. “Never on Sunday” 14. “Pretty Little One” 15. “Rhapsody in Blue” From the Duke Ellington “The Reprise Studio Recording” CD Set.
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When Frank Sinatra started his Reprise label in the early ’60s, one of the first artists he approached was Duke Ellington. Nearly 40 years later, as part of the 1999 celebrations of the 100th anniversary of Ellington’s birth, Warner Brothers, which had long since bought and absorbed Reprise, finally released a complete retrospective box set, THE REPRISE STUDIO RECORDINGS.
This five-disc, 101-track collection is fascinating, as Ellington’s Reprise recordings feature probably his greatest stylistic range. This tracks are all over the map, from re-recordings of old Ellington classics, to sometimes-radical rearrangements of gospel and blues standards, to the three-part “Night Monster” suite, to jams with titles like “Non-Violent Integration,” to versions of then-current pop tunes like “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” Yet somehow, each track is unmistakably Ellington. The box set also includes a full sessionography and extensive liner notes…….Read More
16. “Happy go lucky’ 17. “Paris Blues” 18. “Ready Go” From the “Duke Ellington And His Orchestra Featuring Paul Gonsalves” CD Album.
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This is a wonderful and rather unusual Ellington outing. Eschewing the revolving-spotlight ethic usually favored by the Duke, this disc features tenor-sax icon Paul Gonsalves fronting the Orchestra in a run-through of some of their best-known tunes. As usual, Gonsalves is in fine form, and his chops and imaginative improvisations are shown off to splendid effect. Relaxed, laid-back versions of “C-Jam Blues” and “Take The ‘A’ Train” frame the saxophonist’s statement of themes with slow, lyrical passages and-at the end of “‘A’ Train”-blazing jams and unaccompanied codas.
Gonsalves blows both hot and cool on such blues numbers as “Happy-Go-Lucky Local” and the jump-up “Ready, Go” (from Ellington’s RED CARPET SUITE.) With Ellington leading at the ivories and the Orchestra providing solid, dynamically fluctuating backing, Gonsalves turns in an album full of worthwhile performances. He acquits himself as one of the ensemble’s deftest, most versatile, and most powerful players…..Read More