This most unusual Duke Ellington record includes two selections featuring nine symphonic percussionists on timpani, vibes, marimbas, and xylophones. Dizzy Gillespie makes a historic appearance with Ellington's orchestra on "U.M.M.G."…
A most unusual Duke Ellington record, two selections feature nine symphonic percussionists on tympani, vibes, marimbas and xylophones. Dizzy Gillespie makes a historic appearance with Ellington's orchestra on "U.M.M.G." (a meeting that should have been repeated often but sadly never was), Jimmy Rushing (Count Basie's former vocalist) sings "Hello Little Girl" ~ AllMusic
This small group session was recorded in 1963 for Atlantic, and originally issued in 1976, two years after Duke Ellington's death. It showcases a small group that features string players in the front line. Ray Nance, the Duke's own violinist, is here as is the legendary Stephane Grappelli and violist Svend Asmussen.
Reissue with latest 2014 DSD remastering. Comes with liner notes. Jazz at the Plaza Vol. II is a live album by American pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington recorded in 1958 at a party for Columbia Records and released on the label in 1973. The Miles Davis Sextet was also recorded at the same event and released as the first volume of Jazz at the Plaza. An intimate live session from Duke Ellington and his great late 50s orchestra – presented here at a private party hosted by Columbia Records at the Plaza Hotel in New York – at a time when Ellington was making some of his best music for the label! The tracks here are every bit on a par with Duke's late 50s gems for Columbia – and have the orchestra stepping out strongly on short numbers that maybe have a bit more swing and a bit less overall concept – as the soloist shift, and shine nicely on each tune!
A wonderful artifact, this is a prime slice of the latter-day Satchmo with a small all-stars band working through a relatively typical set. The performance ranges from solid to excellent, with the occasional odd flub (such as the uncertain return after Danny Barcelona's first drum solo on "Basin Street Blues"), but the quality of the recording is the key element. The Mobile Fidelity gold CD edition adds three tracks to the Storyville original, and provides a clear, uncluttered sound field with excellent separation. The resulting album is a treat to hear. ~ Steven McDonald, Rovi
Duke Ellington's very busy year of 1938 resulted in enough music (counting small group dates led by his sidemen) to fill up more than three CDs. This disc has big-band dates plus outings headed by Cootie Williams and Johnny Hodges. Although 1939-1942 is often thought of as the peak of Ellington's career, his output from 1938 was very impressive too. Among the high points of the sessions on this CD (which feature such soloists as trumpeter Cootie Williams, cornetist Rex Stewart, trombonists Lawrence Brown and Tricky Sam Nanton, altoist Johnny Hodges, clarinetist Barney Bigard, baritonist Harry Carney, and Duke on piano) are "Love in Swingtime," "Prelude to a Kiss," "The Jeep Is Jumpin'," "Mighty Like the Blues," "Battle of Swing," and "Hodge Podge."
During the period covered by this CD, the Duke Ellington Orchestra recorded nine performances (including vocal and instrumental versions of "All God's Chillun Got Rhythm") while combos led by Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Rex Stewart, and Cootie Williams that were mostly filled with Ellington all-stars accounted for 14 other selections. Duke was overseeing everything while letting his star sidemen stretch out, and the result was a steady stream of fresh and high-quality recordings that both fit into the mainstream of swing and stood apart from other bands. Among the more memorable selections on this set (which contains quite a few obscurities) are "The Back Room Romp," "Tea and Trumpets," the remarkable "Harmony in Harlem," and the original versions of "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue."
The main change for the Duke Ellington Orchestra during this period was that the increasingly unreliable Bubber Miley (an alcoholic) was fired by Ellington in January 1929 and quickly replaced by Cootie Williams. Otherwise, the personnel was stable, featuring trombonist Joe Tricky Sam Nanton, altoist Johnny Hodges, and clarinetist Barney Bigard as key soloists along with trumpeters Miley, Arthur Whetsol, and Freddie Jenkins. Most of the selections from this era border on the classic, with highlights including Miley's spot on "Bandanna Babies," "I Must Have That Man," "Harlemania," and a two-part version of "Tiger Rag."