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Diminuendo, Crescendo and Blues
     

Diminuendo, Crescendo and Blues

by C-Jam All Stars
 
Duke Ellington was extraordinarily generous in allowing members of this band to record on their own while working for him. If he wasn't, listeners would never have experienced the pleasure of small groups headed by Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, and

Overview

Duke Ellington was extraordinarily generous in allowing members of this band to record on their own while working for him. If he wasn't, listeners would never have experienced the pleasure of small groups headed by Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, and Rex Stewart. This album was originally recorded in 1958 for Germany's Bertelsmann Record Club. It was eventually issued in the U.S. on CD by RCA Victor in 1999 as part of that label's Classic Edition series. During this part of 1958, Ellington was on an extended European tour. This edition of the C-Jam All Stars features Clark Terry, Paul Gonsalves, Jimmy Woode, and Sam Woodyard. But instead of Ellington on piano, Carlos Diernhammer, a local pianist of no small skill, sits in. He was not only accomplished as a pianist, but as a composer as well. One of his more notable writing achievements is the score for the German cult horror film The Death Ray of Dr. Mabuse. The play list for this album is a mix of Ellington tunes, a couple of standards, and five songs written by Terry or Gonsalves. The latter are little more than blues-based head arrangements serving as a platform to display the solo artistry of members of the group. All good stuff. But it's the more familiar material that catches the ear. Gonsalves does his thing with "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue." While nowhere approaching the 27 choruses of the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival version, his performance still generates sparks and shows no sign of ennui. "I Cover the Waterfront" is enhanced by a lovely Terry muted trumpet seguing into a soft melodic tenor by Gonsalves, making this track especially appealing. But solos are not the only good thing on this set. There's some outstanding, upbeat ensemble playing like on "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." Woode on bass and Woodyard on drums provide their usual stellar, well-conceived support. It's been a long time getting to the U.S., but finally jazz fans here can enjoy this German session. Just one complaint -- there's only 35 minutes of music. Despite this parsimony, the CD is highly recommended.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/12/1999
Label:
Rca
UPC:
0090266356928
catalogNumber:
63569

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