La Maison du Duke is proud to present a collection of unpublished recordings of Duke Ellington, which come from an important stock of Ellington archives (Clavié collection), acquired by the association, which only a few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 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.
Now that Duke Ellington had regained his former commercial success with his performance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival, he was free for the remainder of his career to essentially play what he pleased. This live performacne from ranges from old favorites like "I Got It Bad" and "Sophisticated Lady" to the spectacular Britt Woodman trombone feature on "Theme Trambene," the whimsical "Pretty and the Wolf," a fresh rendition of "Harlem Air Shaft" featuring trumpeter Clark Terry and the extended "Harlem Suite." Baritonist Harry Carney, high-note trumpet wizard Cat Anderson and altoist Johnny Hodges all have their great moments on this enjoyable set.
Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington were (and are) two of the main stems of jazz. Any way you look at it, just about everything that's ever happened in this music leads directly – or indirectly – back to them. Both men were born on the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries, and each became established as a leader during the middle '20s. Although their paths had crossed from time to time over the years, nobody in the entertainment industry had ever managed to get Armstrong and Ellington into a recording studio to make an album together. On April 3, 1961, producer Bob Thiele achieved what should be regarded as one of his greatest accomplishments; he organized and supervised a seven-and-a-half-hour session at RCA Victor's Studio One on East 24th Street in Manhattan, using a sextet combining Duke Ellington with Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars. This group included ex-Ellington clarinetist Barney Bigard, ex-Jimmie Lunceford swing-to-bop trombonist Trummy Young, bassist Mort Herbert, and drummer Danny Barcelona. A second session took place during the afternoon of the following day.
Reissue with latest remastering. Comes with liner notes. One of the first albums to ever issue recordings made at the Newport Jazz Festival – quite a big hit, and the beginning of a real trend in jazz! The set's also some great work by Duke – free to perform in a setting that's not bound by some of the time restrictions of earlier years, which lets him offer up three long tracks with a great deal of sophistication over previous recordings. Due to bad mike placement on stage, the original "live" album was actually a studio re-creation; the actual live performance was never issued-until now. This 2-CD set contains the complete original album and the hour-plus concert. More than 100 minutes of new music, and the whole thing's in stereo for the first time!