Duke Ellington, Vol. 1: Liveby Duke Ellington
This strange anthology of previously unreleased recordings of Duke Ellington in various New York City venues (probably the Bandbox and Birdland) during 1953 and 1954 contains little information other than they were selected by Paul Ellington (Duke's grandson) from the family vaults. There isn't even a cursory attempt to identify the soloists, let alone the musicians present. The music may have come from private recordings made by someone in Ellington's organization; the sound is generally very good and well-balanced, excepting some sudden drops in the recording level on some of the tracks, especially "Jumpin' Jack" (which is actually a mislabeled version of "Stompin' at the Savoy"). Most of the tracks on volume one consist of Ellington's regular repertoire: a swinging "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," featuring Ray Nance's campy vocal and the potent baritone sax of Harry Carney; Clark Terry's trumpet is the highlight of "Perdido"; and "Satin Doll," which had just been recorded for the first time in 1953 (for Capitol. Singer Jimmy Grissom's forgettable vocals plague "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me" and the very obscure "Come on Home" (incorrectly listed as "Come Home"). Ellington throws in two standards, including "Without a Song" and "Liza" (mislabeled as an unaccredited "That's the Memory of You"). It is puzzling why the Ellington family would not take more care in proper labeling of this music; a quick consultation with any Ellington scholar such as Mark Tucker would have benefited this release immensely. Since this CD was already a cutout less than two years after its debut, it may turn into a collector's item, but only Ellington completists will bother to look very hard for it; everyone else should consider it only if found for a bargain price, as there are many better live CDs by Ellington available.
- Release Date:
- J-BIRD RECORDS
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