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."
During 1928, the main stars of Duke Ellington's orchestra (in addition to the leader/pianist/composer/arranger) were trumpeter Bubber Miley, trombonist Joe Tricky Sam Nanton, clarinetist Barney Bigard, and (starting in June) altoist Johnny Hodges. All of the master takes (including ones for different labels) are being reissued in the Classics series. This disc is highlighted by "Black Beauty" (particularly Ellington's solo piano version), the heated "Hot and Bothered" (featuring guest guitarist Lonnie Johnson and singer Baby Cox), "Louisiana," and "I Can't Give You Anything but Love." Two songs feature singer Ozie Ware backed by a small combo taken from Ellington's big band. This CD has plenty of timeless classics, most of which are also available in other reissue programs.
As usual with the Classics series, the music on this CD is released complete and in chronological order, covering the music originally released by several record labels but without including alternate takes. In the case of Duke Ellington, because he would frequently record the same song slightly rearranged on several occasions for different companies, there are multiple versions of some titles on this CD, but the alternate versions that he made for the labels have been left out. During the very important period covered by this disc, the Duke Ellington Orchestra (having recently found their sound) was hired by the Cotton Club as the house band and they hit the big time…
By the time Columbus Calvin Pearson Jr. arrived in New York in early 1959, he had studied piano, mellophone, baritone, trumpet, and bass. Although best known for his innovative arrangements for Blue Note, he was a pianist at heart, and Profile, recorded within the demanding context of the trio, was his first album as a leader. This is fine, mellow music that makes you feel good. "Like Someone in Love" is a bit up-tempo. "Black Coffee" is a slower composition that captures the need to shake off early-morning cobwebs. "Taboo" is mystical, with the introduction and bridge in different, yet completely complementary tempos…
Duke Pearson rises to the challenge of writing for an all-star octet (with trumpeter Freddie Hubbard, trombonist Garnett Brown, altoist James Spaulding, Jerry Dodgion on alto and flute, Stanley Turrentine on tenor, bassist Gene Taylor, drummer Grady Tate, and the leader/pianist), contributing colorful frameworks and consistently challenging compositions. The set is full of diverse melodies (the CD reissue has a previously unissued take of "Los Malos Hombres") played by a variety of distinctive soloists; many of these songs deserve to be revived. This is one of the finest recordings of Duke Pearson's career.
Born Ruffians have launched new album 'Uncle, Duke & The Chief'. The three-piece went into the studio last year, eager to lay down material prompted by the turbulent times around them. From songs prompted by the death of David Bowie to something rather more personal, 'Uncle, Duke & The Chief' is billed as a broad, creative return. Out on February 16th, new cut 'Forget Me' is online now, a mellifluous and highly cerebral piece of pop music.“It’s about how the light is something that you should embrace and feel okay going towards it,” Luke Lalonde says. “We’re all doing this together, we’re all on the exact same path—it’s just that some of us are ahead of others.”
The five-disc, 2009 Duke Ellington collection Original Album Series brings together a handful of the legendary bandleader's 1960s albums. Included here are Will Big Bands Ever Come Back?, Jazz Violin Sessions, Mary Poppins, Ellington '65, and Ellington '66. Although these albums found Ellington attempting to compete in the post-swing rock & roll era with a more commercial sound, they are still great jazz albums that should appeal to most Ellington fanatics.