Duke Ellington – Ellington `66 (1966)

FrontCover1.JPGEllington ’66 is an album by American pianist, composer, and bandleader Duke Ellington that was recorded and released on the Reprise label in 1965.[1] The album won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz .

An even more commercial effort than Ellington ’65, Ellington ’66 is yet another example of how the change in popular music toward an all rock & roll format found jazz musicians attempting crossover material with varying degrees of success. While much of the music here is standard American Popular Song à la “Satin Doll” and “Red Roses for a Blue Lady,” other tracks such as the Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” are clearly attempts at reaching a younger record-buying audience. While Ellington ’66 isn’t a bad recording and actually bests ’65 for sheer listening pleasure, it is by no means required listening and will most likely appeal to die-hard Ellington completists. (by Matt Collar)

Duke Ellington 1966.jpgEven better than the Ellington ’65 release , this great sounding cd has the Duke and the orchestra in fine form as it hits one home run after another from hits ranging from the Beatles to Tony Bennett. A real highlight is yet another take of “satin doll” which features Duke on piano mixing perfectly with the orchestra, something not heard on previous releases. “Days of wine and roses”, and “The good life” are just awesome, beautiful renditions of standards that just never grow old, and further prove that Duke could make beautiful music from any era and style. This is a highly recommended example of his genius, the only drawback is the brevity of the cd, just over thirty minutes. (Joseph D. Vinarski)

Inlets.jpgThe inlets from the German edition

Personnel:
Cat Anderson (trumpet)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Harry Carney (saxophone)
Chuck Connors (bass trombone)
Buster Cooper (trombone)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Paul Gonsalves (saxophone)
Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, saxophone)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone)
Herb Jones (trumpet)
John Lamb (bass)
Russell Procope (saxophone, clarinet)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)
Sam Woodyard (drums)
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Mercer Ellington (trumpet on 04., 07.,  10. + 11.)
Rolf Ericson (trumpet on 02., 03., 08. + 09.)
Peck Morrison (bass on 02., 03., 08. + 09.)
Ray Nance (trumpet on  01., 04. –07., 10. – 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Red Roses For A Blue Lady (Tepper/Bennett) 3.38
02. Charade (Mancini/Mercer) 2.37
03. People (Styne/Merrill) 3.21
04. All My Loving (Lennon/McCartney) 3.23
05. A Beautiful Friendship (Kahn/Styne) 2.47
06. I Want To Hold Your Hand (Lennon/McCartney) 2.03
07. Days Of Wine And Roses (Mancini/Mercer) 3.21
08. I Can’t Stop Loving You (Gibson) 3.56
09. The Good Life (Distel/Reardon) 3.13
10. Satin Doll (Ellington/Mercer/Strayhorn) 2.30
11. Moon River (Mancini/Mercer) 2.41
12. Ellington ’66 (Ellington) 2.33

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Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974)

 

Duke Ellington – Jumpin´ Punkins (1965)

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Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.

Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase “beyond category” as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a musical genre such as jazz.

Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington’s orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his pieces having become standards. Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol’s “Caravan”, and “Perdido”, which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early 1940s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scored several, and composed a handful of stage musicals.

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Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and for his eloquence and charisma. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a fine sampler from his early to mid-1940s period. We hear “16 rare sides from his 1940/1941 band” …

And it´s another chance to hear all these charming Big Band tunes from one of the geatest Jazz musicians of the last century.

My copy is from Italy … so all the liner notes are in Italian.

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Original US front + back cover

Personnel:
Ivie Anderson (vocals)
Barney Bigard (saxophone, clarinet)
Jimmy Blanton (bass)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Harry Carney (saxophone, clarinet)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Sonny Greer (drums)
Fred Guy (guitar)
Otto Hardwick (saxophone, clarinet)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone)
Wallace Jones (trumpet)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin, vocals)
Joe Nanton (trombone)
Rex Stewart (cornet)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Juan Tizol (trombone)
Ben Webster (saxophone)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)

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Tracklist:
01. Conga Brava (Ellington/Tizol) 2.55
02. Me And You (Ellington) 2.52
03. Dusk (Ellington) 3.13
04. Blue Goose (Ellington) 3.18
05. Five O’ Clock Whistle (Gannon/Myrow/Irwin) 3.15
06. The Sidewalks Of New York (Lawlor/Blake) 3.10
07. After All (Strayhorn) 3.16
08. John Hardy’s Wife (Ellington) 3.23
09. Jumpin’ Punkins (Mercer/Ellington) 3.41
10. Are You Sticking ? (Ellington) 3.04
11. The Giddy Bug Gallop (Ellington) 3.29
12. Chocolate Shake (Webster/Ellington) 2.53
13. Clementine (Strayhorn) 2.58
14. Jump For Joy (Webster/Ellington/Kuller) 2.53
15. Bli-Blip (Kuller/Ellington) 3.03
16. Five O’ Clock Drag (Ellington) 3.09

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“Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974)

Duke Ellington – Ellington At Newport (1956/1999)

Ellington At Newport LP 1Ellington at Newport is a 1956 live jazz album by Duke Ellington and his band of their 1956 concert at the Newport Jazz Festival, a concert which revitalized Ellington’s flagging career. Jazz promoter George Wein describes the 1956 concert as “the greatest performance of [Ellington’s] career… It stood for everything that jazz had been and could be.”. It is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, which ranks it “one of the most famous… in jazz history”. The original release partly recreated in the studio the Ellington Orchestra’s festival appearance.

Many big bands folded by the mid-1950s, but Ellington kept his band working, occasionally doing shows in ice-skating rinks to stay busy.[clarification needed] The Duke Ellington Orchestra did European tours during the early 1950s, and Ellington was chiefly supporting the band himself through royalties earned on his popular compositions of the 1920s to 1940s. At the time of the festival, the band did not even have a record deal.

Duke and his orchestra arrived to play at the Newport Jazz Festival at a time when jazz festivals were a fairly new innovation. Ellington’s band was the first and last group to play at the Newport Festival. The first, short set began at 8:30 and included “The Star Spangled Banner”, “Black and Tan Fantasy” and “Tea for Two”. This set was played without a few of the band’s members as they were unable to be found at the start of the show.

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After performances by the other groups, the remainder of the band was located and the real performance began. Duke led off with “Take the ‘A’ Train”, followed by a new composition by Duke and Billy Strayhorn, a suite of three pieces: “Festival Junction”, “Blues to Be There”, and “Newport Up”. This suite was intended to be the showstopper, but the reception was not as enthusiastic as was hoped.

Following the Festival suite, Duke called for Harry Carney’s baritone saxophone performance of “Sophisticated Lady”. Then the orchestra played “Day In, Day Out”. Following this, Duke announced that they were pulling out “some of our 1938 vintage”: “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue” joined by an improvised interval, which Duke announced would be played by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves.

Ellington had been experimenting with the reworking for several years before the Newport performance; a release of one of his Carnegie Hall concerts of the 1940s presented the two old blues joined by a wordless vocal passage, “Transbluecency,” but in time he chose to join the pair by a saxophone solo, handing it to Gonsalves, experimenting with it in shorter performances before the Newport show, where Ellington is believed to have told Gonsalves to blow as long as he felt like blowing when the solo slot came. It came after two choruses of an Ellington piano break at what was formerly the conclusion of “Diminuendo in Blue.”

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As performed at Newport, the experiment ended up revamping the Ellington reputation and fortune for the rest of Ellington’s life. The previous experiments culminated in a 27-chorus solo by Gonsalves — simple, but powerful — backed only by bassist Jimmy Woode, drummer Sam Woodyard, and Ellington himself pounding punctuating piano chords and (with several audible band members as well) hollering urgings-on (“Come on, Paul — dig in! Dig in!”) to his soloist. The normally sedate crowd was on their feet dancing in the aisles, reputedly provoked by a striking platinum blonde woman in a black evening dress, actress Elaine Anderson, getting up and dancing enthusiastically. When the solo ended and Gonsalves collapsed in exhaustion, Ellington himself took over for two choruses of piano solo before the full band returned for the “Crescendo in Blue” portion, finishing with a rousing finale featuring high-note trumpeter Cat Anderson.

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After that performance, pandemonium took over. Duke calmed the crowd by announcing, “If you’ve heard of the saxophone, then you’ve heard of Johnny Hodges.” Duke’s best known alto saxophonist then played two of his most famous numbers in “I Got It Bad (and That Ain’t Good)” followed by “Jeep’s Blues”. Still the crowd refused to disperse so Duke called for Ray Nance to sing “Tulip or Turnip”. The festival’s organizers tried to cut off the show at this point but once again were met with angry refusals to end the evening.

Duke told the announcer that he would end the show and wanted to thank the audience but instead announced he had a “very heavy request for Sam Woodyard in ‘Skin Deep'”, a number written by former Ellington drummer Louis Bellson. This drum solo feature was the final number featured, followed by a farewell from Duke over “Mood Indigo”. In his farewell, he thanked the crowd for the “wonderful way in which you’ve inspired us this evening.” He then finished with his trademark statement, “You are very beautiful, very sweet and we do love you madly.” With that, the historic show concluded.

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Columbia Records recorded the concert and an album soon followed. Duke appeared soon after on the cover of Time, and his resurgent popularity lasted throughout the rest of his life. Some of his most critically acclaimed albums occurred during the next decade and a half, until age and illness began to claim some of Duke’s band members and, in 1974, Ellington himself.

In 1996, a tape discovered in the Voice of America’s archive of its radio broadcasts revealed that the 1956 album had indeed been fabricated with studio performances mixed with some live recordings and artificial applause. Only about 40% of the 1956 recording was actually live. The reason for this was that Ellington felt the under-rehearsed Festival suite had not been performed up to recording release standards, and he wished to have a better version on tape if it was to be issued on record. Producer George Avakian did as Ellington asked and the band entered the studio immediately after TimeMagazine.jpgthe festival. Avakian mixed in the studio version with portions of the live performance. The applause was dubbed onto the original release to cover up the fact that Gonsalves had been playing into the wrong microphone and was often completely inaudible.

On the 1999 reissue, the VoA live recording and live Columbia tapes were painstakingly pieced together using digital technology to create a stereophonic recording of the most well-known Ellington performance of the past fifty years, this time with Gonsalves’ solo clearly heard, though the beginning of the audience cheering and noise at around the seventh or eighth chorus of the solo can still be heard as well. (Stereophonic LP records were not mass-produced until 1957, the year after the recording.) (by wikipedia)

Duke Ellington’s appearance at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival has long been famous, and justifiably so. Paul Gonsalves’ 27-chorus tenor solo on “Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue” practically started a riot at Newport and made headlines around the world. The momentum generated by this concert led to Ellington’s comeback and never let up during his 18 remaining years. A double CD put out in 1999 presents the entire concert performance, previously unheard material, and a few revelations. After a brief truncated set that was cut short because four of Ellington’s musicians could not be found, the Ellington Orchestra returned to the stage three hours later. They played “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Newport Jazz Festival Suite,” a showcase for Harry Carney on “Sophisticated Lady,” and a so-so Jimmy Grissom vocal outing on “Day In, Day Out.” Then came “Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue.”

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The saxophone interlude caused crazed dancing, and soon the crowd was as loud as the band. When the crowd would not quiet down, Ellington saved the day by closing with a long version of “Skin Deep.” But unknown to most people is that on July 9, the orchestra went to the studios to reproduce the program. The earlier version of the “Newport Jazz Festival Suite” had been a bit sloppy and Gonsalves’ famous tenor solo on “Diminuendo” had actually been played into the wrong microphone. Ellington’s band therefore performed the entire “Newport Jazz Festival Suite” again and it was issued (with phony applause, introductions, and crowd noises) on the original LP. Highly recommended. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Cat Anderson (trumpet)
Harry Carney (saxophone)
Willie Cook (trumpet)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Paul Gonsalves (saxophone)
Jimmy Grissom (vocals)
Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone)
Quentin Jackson (trombone)
Ray Nance (trumpet, vocals)
Russell Procope (saxophone)
John Sanders (trombone)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Sam Woodyard (drums)

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Tracklist:

CD 1:
01. Star Spangled Banner (Smith) 1.10
02. Father Norman O’Connor introduces Duke & The Orchestra / Duke introduces Tune & Anderson, Jackson & Procope 3.36
03. Black And Tan Fantasy (Miley/Ellington) 6.21
04. Duke introduces Cook & Tune 0.26
05. Tea For Two (Youmans) 3.34
06. Duke & Band leave stage / Father Norman talks about the festival 2.30
07. Take The A Train (Strayhorn) 4.27
08. Duke announces Strayhorn’s A Train & Nance / Duke introduces Festival Suite, Part I & Hamilton 0.41
09. Part I – Festival Junction (Strayhorn/Ellington) 8.10
10. Duke announces Soloists; introduces Part II 0.38
11 Part II – Blues To Be There (Strayhorn/Ellington) 7.09
12. Duke announces Nace & Procope; introduces Part III 0.19
13. Part III – Newport Up (Strayhorn/Ellington) 5.33
14. Duke announces Hamilton, Gonsalves & Terry / Duke introduces Carney & Tune 0.25
15. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington/Mills/Parish) 3.52
16. Duke announces Grissom & Tune 0.17
17. Day In, Day Out (Mercer/Bloom) 3.50
18. Duke introduces Tune(s) And Paul Gonsalves interludes 0.23
19. Diminuendo In Blue And Crescendo In Blue (Ellington) 14.20
20. Announcements, Pandemonium 0.44
21. Pause track 0.06

CD 2:
01. Duke ntroduces Johnny Hodges 0.18
02. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 3.38
03. Jeep’s Blues (Ellington/Hodges) 4.36
04. Duke calms crowd; introduces Nance & Tune 0.42
05. Tulip Or Turnip (George/Ellington) 2.49
06. Riot prevention 1.08
07. Skin Deep (Bellson) 9.13
08. Mood Indigo (Bigard/Ellington/Mills) 1.30
09. Studio Concert (Excerpts) 1.15
10. Father Norman O’Connor introduces Duke Ellington / Duke introduces New Work, Part I & Hamilton 1.02
11. Part I – Festival Junction (Strayhorn/Ellington) 8.46
12. Duke announces Soloists; introduces Part II 0.32
13. Part II – Blues To Be There (Strayhorn/Ellington) 7.48
14. Duke announces Nance & Procope; introduces Part III 0.16
15. Part III – Newport Up (Strayhorn/Ellington) 5.20
16. Duke announces Hamilton, Gonsalves & Terry / Pause / Duke introduces Johnny Hodges 0.41
17. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 3.47
18. Jeep’s Blues (Ellington/Hodges) 4.32
19. Pause track 0.07

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Duke Ellington at the Newport Jazz festival, 1956

Various Artists – Tenor Sax Ballads (Priceless Jazz Collection) (1999)

FrontCover1GRP has cobbled together a set of performances from labels it now has under its umbrella, such as Impulse and Cadet, as well as from albums released under its own name. There’s no intent here to put together a survey of the development of the tenor saxophone. Rather, this album is an unabashed effort to attract those who celebrate good tenor sax playing in general, and ballad sax in particular — and it works. If there were a hall of fame for tenor sax players, all the performers present on this disc would have been inaugural inductees. Coleman Hawkins, the first true tenor sax improviser, is represented with “Solitude” and “Mood Indigo” from the memorable recording he made with Duke Ellington; an added treat on “Solitude” is the fine violin playing of Ray Nance. John Coltrane’s inimitable ballad style is put on display with “You Don’t Know What Love Is” and “It’s Easy to Remember,” an effort by the Impulse label to make Coltrane more “popular” with jazz fans. The playing of the tenor saxophone’s psalm, “Body and Soul,” is awarded to Paul Gonsalves, who follows the improvisational path that Hawkins took on his 1939 recording. Ben Webster, James Moody, Sonny Stitt, Illinois Jacquet, and the soul-laden horn of Stanley Turrentine are also present.

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Turrentine’s rendition of “Deep Purple” is a highlight of the album, as is Jacquet’s languid rendering of “You’re My Thrill.” A priceless set of performances by major practitioners of the tenor saxophone. Heartily recommended. (by Dave Nathan)

If you love tenor sax and music from the ’40s and ’50s and prefer melody, this is the CD for you.

It´s time to discover all these great jazz musicins from the past … timeless music !

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Tracklist:
01. Ben Webster: Stardust (Carmichael/Parish) 2.27
02. Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins: Solitude (DeLange/Ellington /Mills) 5.54
03. John Coltrane: You Don’t Know What Love Is (DePaul/Raye) 5.15
04. Paul Gonsalves: Body And Soul (Eyton/Green/Heyman/Sour) 5.27
05. Sonny Stitt: I’m Getting Sentimental Over You (Bassman/Washington) 4.18
06. Duke Ellington: Single Petal Of A Rose (Webster) 3.21
07. Stanley Turrentine: Deep Purple (DeRose/Parish) 4.51
08. Duke Ellington & Coleman Hawkins:  Mood Indigo (Bigard/Ellington/Mills) 5.58
09. John Coltrane:  It’s Easy to Remember (Hart/Rodgers) 2.48
10. Illinois Jacquet: You’re My Thrill (Gorney/Lane/Washington) 3.50
11. Ben Webster: Over The Rainbow (Arlen/Harburg) 4.45
12. James Moody: Don’t Blame Me (Fields/McHugh) 4.31

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Stanley Turrentine

New York Trio – Love You Madly (2003)

FrontCover1The vast Duke Ellington songbook is always ripe for exploration, and the New York Trio, featuring pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Jay Leonhart, and drummer Bill Stewart, is up to the task. The gorgeous ballad “The Star Crossed Lovers” is in good hands, as Charlap gently examines the facets of this gem, accompanied by Leonhart’s spacious basslines and Stewart’s whispering brushes.

The brisk run through “Love You Madly” is transformed into an extended workout instead of the brief versions typically played by its composer. Charlap’s bluesy gospel introduction to “I’m Just a Lucky So-and-So” will turn a few heads.

Even though there’s nothing new about tackling “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” at a racehorse tempo, this trio’s intricate workout is a bit more abstract than most recordings. Charlap’s jaunty treatment of “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” suggests its composer’s stride piano roots. (vy by Ken Dryden)

Another sentimental journey …

New York Trio

Personnel:
Bill Charlap (piano)
Jay Leonhart (bass)
Bill Stewart (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Star Crossed Lovers 4.30
02. Jump For Joy 4.46
03. In A Sentimental Mood 5.57
04. Love You Madly 8.21
05. Sophisticated Lady 4.58
06. I’m Just A Lucky So-And-So 6.48
07. Prelude To A Kiss 6.16
08. It Don’t Mean A Thing 3.55
09. C Jam Blues 4.36
10. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart 7.16
11. Warm Valley 5.39

All tunes written by Duke Ellington

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Duke Ellington & John Coltrane – Same (1963)

FrontCover1Duke Ellington & John Coltrane is a jazz album by Duke Ellington and John Coltrane recorded on September 26, 1962, and released in February 1963 on Impulse! Records.
It was one of Ellington’s many collaborations in the early 1960s with musicians such as Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, and Charles Mingus, and placed him with a quartet (in this case, saxophone, piano, bass, and drums), rather than a big band.

Coltrane played in a more accessible style during this time, on albums such as John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman and Ballads. Despite their differences in background, style, and age – Ellington was 63 and Coltrane 36 when the tracks were recorded – it has been said[by whom?] that the two interacted seamlessly.
The quartet was filled out by the bassist and drummer from either of their bands. The album featured Ellington standards (e.g., “In a Sentimental Mood”), new Ellington compositions, and a new Coltrane composition (“Big Nick”).

Coltrane said:
I was really honoured to have the opportunity of working with Duke. It was a wonderful experience. He has set standards I haven’t caught up with yet. I would have liked to have worked over all those numbers again, but then I guess the performances wouldn’t have had the same spontaneity. And they mightn’t have been any better! (by wikipedia)
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John Coltrane & Duke Ellington
The classic 1962 album Duke Ellington & John Coltrane showcased the rising jazz saxophone innovator performing alongside the long-established piano institution. While the pairing might have portended a dynamic clash of the musical generations, instead we got a casual, respectful, and musically generous meeting of like-minded souls. Similarly, while one might have assumed that Ellington would use his sidemen, instead producer Bob Thiele (who also produced similar albums for Ellington including pairings with Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins) chose to bring in Coltrane’s own outfit for the proceedings. Consequently, the duo is backed here at various times by bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones, as well as alternates bassist Aaron Bell and drummer Sam Woodyard. The most surprising aspect of the Ellington/Coltrane date is how well suited Coltrane and his group are at playing what largely ends up being Ellington’s own material. While he was certainly in the nascency of his more avant-garde period in 1962, Coltrane had a deep understanding of traditional jazz vocabulary, having played in a swing band in the Navy in the 1940s and studied the style of artists like Hawkins and Ben Webster while coming up in Philadelphia.

Similarly, though an icon of the big-band era by the 1960s, Ellington had been on the upswing of a career resurgence ever since his dynamic performance at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, later released as Ellington at Newport. His meeting with Coltrane was emblematic of his renewed creativity and was one of several albums he recorded in his latter life with theretofore unexpected artists, not the least of which his other 1962 date, Money Jungle with bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach.

Here, Ellington and Coltrane play a handful of well-known Ellington book numbers, including a supremely lyrical “In a Sentimental Mood” and a soulful, half-lidded version of Billy Strayhorn’s “My Little Brown Book.” Ellington even supplied the brisk original “Take the Coltrane,” allowing plenty of room for Coltrane to let loose with knotty, angular lines. (by Matt Collar)

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Personnel:
Aaron Bell (bass on 01., 04., 05. + 07.)
John Coltrane (saxophone)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Jimmy Garrison (bass on 02., 03. + 06.)
Elvin Jones (drums on  01. – 03. +  06.)
Sam Woodyard (drums on 04., 05. +  07.)

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Tracklist:
01. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington) 4.14
02. Take The Coltrane (Ellington) 4.42
03. Big Nick (Coltrane) 4.30
04. Stevie (Ellington) 4.22
05. My Little Brown Book (Strayhorn) 5.20
06. Angelica (Ellington) 6.00
07. The Feeling Of Jazz (Troup/Ellington/Simon) 5.34
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Ella Fitzgerald – Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book (1957)

frontcover1Ella Fitzgerald’s outstanding songbook series has become an institution unto itself. This 1957 effort is distinguished from Fitzgerald’s other songbooks in that it is the only album in which the composer whose work she is singing actively participates.

In fact, these recordings are packed with some of the key figures in 20th century jazz. As if Ella and Duke weren’t enough, Ellington’s arranger/composer Billy Strayhorn, guest musicians Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson, and brilliant record producer Norman Granz all have a hand in the proceedings.

And what better backing band could one want than Duke’s orchestra? The usual suspects — Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, and Sam Woodyard, among others — contribute fine performances throughout. Duke’s spectacular catalog dazzles, and his sprightly, lush textures are transfigured under Fitzgerald’s warm-timbred voice and elegant, precise delivery. Included here are classics like “Rockin’ in Rhythm,” “Caravan,” “Satin Doll,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “Prelude to a Kiss,” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing…,” each tune as familiar as it is delightful to hear in this new context. (by allmusic.com)

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Ella Fitzgerald has been responsible for many classic vocal jazz albums, most of which on Norman Granz’s Verve label and this 1957 classic is no exception. Half of the tracks here were recorded with Duke Ellington and his orchestra which include legends like Billy Strayhorn, Paul Gonsalves, Johnny Hodges and on Take The A Train, the High Priest of Bop Dizzy Gillespie even drops in to deliver an extra sermon. The other half were recorded with small groups which include heavyweights such as Barney Kessel, Stuff Smith, Oscar Peterson, Herb Ellis, Ray Brown and the ever warm Ben Webster. Ella is clearly at home with such legendary company and turns in one winning performance after another.
On Rockin’ In Rhythm, she scats with skill and bravado which ensures she’s in command of the illustrious company present. When it’s time to Day Dream, she croons away with an ethereal tone and such emotional maturity that the listener is dreaming of his or her unrequited love too, not forgetting a tip-top solo from Mr Hodges here. When the aforementioned A Train arrives, it’s a jam session of the first rank with all the passengers frontcoversongbookswinging away; giving the listener a first-class trip to Harlem. Perdido and The E & D Blues are top-class jams from Ella and her fellas too which make any listener lost in jazz heaven. I’m Beginning To See The Light and Blip-Blip are such great expressions of joy & exuberance you can’t help but start snapping your fingers and tapping your feet too. On I Got It Bad, Ella cries her heart out making any listener weep along too.
The small group sides also provide legendary moments too. Cotton Tail, It Don’t Mean A Thing, In A Mellow Tone and Squatty Roo provide the listener more opportunities to experience Ella and her fellas to show off their A star credentials in swing. On Satin Doll, Ella takes things a step further, she swaps the Mercer lyrics with her own and a winner is produced. Just Squeeze Me is Ella at her sassiest. On Rocks In My Bed, Ella and Ben really make the listener feel the blues of having to sleep with rocks in one’s bed (Ben’s sax solo here is just iconic). Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me, Sophisticated Lady and Prelude To A Kiss give Ella and her fellas the chance to take the listener to a jazz club at 2am in the morning; every minute of these performances is filled with warmth, soul and class. Ella and Barney Kessel take things a step further on Solitude, Azure and In A Sentimental Mood, these tracks are saturated with so much intimacy and sincerity that this delightful duo could be crooning away right in your own living room at 4am in the morning. Lush Life gives the listener a chance to hear Ella & Oscar sigh as they pour their woes of repeated brushes with unrequited love out.

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All in all, a timeless recording that any jazz or Ella fan ought to purchase & THE place to introduce someone to jazz or Ella Fitzgerald. Arguably, Lady Ella’s best album.(by Le Real Luc Ow)

In other words: a masterpiece.

I include the songbook “Ella sings Ellington” from 1959 as a pdf file.

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Personnel:
William “Cat” Anderson (trumpet)
Ray Brown (bass)
Harry Carney (clarinet)
Willie Cook (trumpet)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Herb Ellis (guitar)
Ella Fitzgerald (vocals)
Frank Foster (saxophone)
Paul Gonsalves (saxophone)
Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, saxophone)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone)
Quentin Jackson (trombone)
Barney Kessel (guitar)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin)
Oscar Peterson (piano)
Russell Procope (clarinet, saxophone)
John Sanders (trombone)
Paul Smith (piano)
Stuff Smith (violin)
Alvin Stoller (drums)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Clark Terry (trumpet)
Ben Webster (saxophone)
Jimmy Woode (bass)
Britt Woodman (trombone)
Sam Woodyard (drums)
+
Dizzy Gillespie (trumpet on 24.)

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Tracklist:
01. Cotton Tail (Ellington) 3.26
02. Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (Ellington/Russell) 7.44
03. Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’ (Ellington/Gaines/Strayhorn) 3.34
04. Solitude (DeLange/Ellington/Mills) 2.09
05. Rocks in My Bed (Ellington) 3.59
06. Satin Doll (Ellington/Mercer/Strayhorn) 3.29
07. Sophisticated Lady (Ellington/Mills/Parish) 5.21
08. Just Squeeze Me (But Don’t Tease Me) (Ellington/Gaines) 4.11
09. It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) (Ellington/Mills) 4.15
10. Azure (Ellington/Mills) 2.23
11. I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart (Ellington/Mills/Nemo /Redmond) 4.12
12. In A Sentimental Mood (Ellington/Kurtz/Mills) 2.48
13. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Ellington/Russell) 5.02
14. Prelude To A Kiss (Ellington/Gordon/Mills) 5.29
15. Mood Indigo (Bigard/Ellington/Mills) 3.28
16. In A Mellow Tone (Ellington/Gabler) 5.12
17. Love You Madly (Ellington) 4.41
18. Lush Life (Strayhorn) 3.41
19. Squatty Roo (Hodges) 3.41
20. Rockin’ In Rhythm (Carney/Ellington/Mills) 5.20
21. Drop Me Off In Harlem (Ellington/Kenny) 3.51
22. Day Dream (Ellington/Latouche/Strayhorn) 4.00
23. Caravan (Ellington/Mills/Tizol) 3.55
24. Take the “A” Train (Strayhorn) 6.41
25. I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues (Ellington/George)
26. Clementine (Strayhorn) 2.41
27. I Didn’t Know About You (Ellington/Russell) 4.13
28. I’m Beginning To See The Light (Ellington(George/Hodges/James) 3.28
29. Lost In Meditation (Ellington/Mills/Singer/Tizol) 3.28
30. Perdido (Drake/Lengsfelder/Tizol) 6.13
31. I’m Just A Lucky So And So (David/Ellington) 4.15
32. All Too Soon (Ellington/Sigman) 5.02
33. Everything But You (Ellington/George/James) 5.29
34. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 6.15
35. Blip-Blip (Ellington/Kuller) 3.04
36. Chelsea Bridge (Strayhorn) 3.24
37. The E and D Blues (E for Ella, D for Duke) (Ellington/Strayhorn) 4.51

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