Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band, covering the years 1939-1942 in the great composer and bandleader's career, is essentially the third time that RCA has issued this material on CD. The first was a botched job, appalling even, with its flattened-out, compressed sound, along with a chopped version of "Take the A-Train" and other sonic and editorial errors. The second version was completely remastered and corrected the editorial problems, but featured no alternate takes from the band's performances. Beyond the original 66 tracks, nine additional cuts are featured here, including four brand-new master-take issues of "Another Pitter Patter," "Body and Soul," ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Never No Lament: The Blanton-Webster Band, covering the years 1939-1942 in the great composer and bandleader's career, is essentially the third time that RCA has issued this material on CD. The first was a botched job, appalling even, with its flattened-out, compressed sound, along with a chopped version of "Take the A-Train" and other sonic and editorial errors. The second version was completely remastered and corrected the editorial problems, but featured no alternate takes from the band's performances. Beyond the original 66 tracks, nine additional cuts are featured here, including four brand-new master-take issues of "Another Pitter Patter," "Body and Soul," "Sophisticated Lady," and "Mr. J.B. Blues," as well as alternate takes of "Ko-Ko," "Bojangles," "Sepia Panorama," "Jumpin' Punkins," and "Jump for Joy." All of this material is available on RCA's Complete Duke Ellington and in bits and pieces on imports, but these tracks make this set feel much more complete as a document of Ellington's greatest band. The interplay between Jimmy Blanton's bass, which stood completely out front with its fat, rounded tone -- a revolutionary thing in a big band in those days -- and Ben Webster's shimmering, soulful tenor on the alternate take of "Sepia Panorama," as well as the title track and Webster's signature tune, "Chelsea Bridge," are more remarkable with each listen. The sheer force of Blanton's playing moves the band to a whole different level of intensity, and the contrast between the tones of altoist Johnny Hodges and Webster is one of the most unique and complimentary in the history of jazz. If you are new to this set, it's a fine introduction, with performances of classics such as "Ko-Ko," "Harlem Air Shaft," "All Too Soon," "In a Mellotone," "Warm Valley," "Harlem Airshaft," "Take the 'A' Train," "I Got It Bad," "Five O'Clock Drag," "Perdido," "Bojangles," "The C Jam Blues," "Concerto for Cootie," "Cottontail," "Johnny Come Lately," "Sentimental Lady," and many others. The Blanton-Webster Band featured a great many soloists, including Cootie Williams, Ray Nance, Rex Stewart, and vocalist Herb Jeffries. In fact, the only shortcomings on this set are some of the vocals by other performers, but let's face it, there were few truly great jazz singers at the time, and this minor annoyance is easily overlooked. While it is easy to be cynical about the way classic recordings are repackaged and remastered as a way of getting enthusiasts to buy them again and again, this one is truly worth either an initial investment or reinvestment. It may have taken RCA three tries, but they finally got it right. The package is lovely, the notes updated, and the sound stellar. Along with the extra tracks, what more could you want?
Billboard
Simply put, these are among jazz's timeless recordings, and they've never sounded better.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/28/2006
  • Label: Tombstone Records
  • EAN: 4988017619001
  • Catalog Number: 38049/51

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 You, You Darlin' (3:20)
  2. 2 Jack the Bear (3:17)
  3. 3 Ko Ko (2:43)
  4. 4 Morning Glory (3:18)
  5. 5 So Far, So Good (2:53)
  6. 6 Conga Brava (2:59)
  7. 7 Concerto for Cootie (3:20)
  8. 8 Me and You (2:55)
  9. 9 Cotton Tail (3:13)
  10. 10 Never No Lament (Don't Get Around Much Anymore) (3:19)
  11. 11 Dusk (3:21)
  12. 12 Bojangles (2:54)
  13. 13 A Portrait of Bert Williams (3:10)
  14. 14 Blue Goose (3:23)
  15. 15 Harlem Air Shaft (3:00)
  16. 16 At a Dixie Roadside Diner (2:49)
  17. 17 All Too Soon (3:31)
  18. 18 Rumpus in Richmond (2:50)
  19. 19 My Greatest Mistake (3:27)
  20. 20 Sepia Panorama (3:25)
  21. 21 There Shall Be No Night (3:13)
  22. 22 In a Mellow Tone (3:17)
  23. 23 Five O'Clock Whistle (3:19)
  24. 24 The Flaming Sword (3:09)
  25. 25 Warm Valley (3:21)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Across the Track Blues (3:01)
  2. 2 Chloe (3:27)
  3. 3 I Never Felt This Way Before (3:33)
  4. 4 The Sidewalks of New York (3:15)
  5. 5 Flamingo (3:24)
  6. 6 The Girl in My Dreams Tries to Look Like You (3:20)
  7. 7 Take the "A" Train (2:57)
  8. 8 Jumpin' Punkins (3:34)
  9. 9 John Hardy's Wife (3:30)
  10. 10 Blue Serge (3:23)
  11. 11 After All (3:23)
  12. 12 Bakiff (3:26)
  13. 13 Are You Sticking? (3:06)
  14. 14 Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin' (3:36)
  15. 15 The Giddybug Gallop (3:36)
  16. 16 Pitter Panther Patter (3:03)
  17. 17 Body and Soul (3:11)
  18. 18 Sophisticated Lady (2:47)
  19. 19 Mr. J.B. Blues (3:09)
  20. 20 Ko Ko (2:40)
  21. 21 Bojangles (2:46)
  22. 22 Sepia Panorama (3:24)
  23. 23 Jumpin' Punkins (3:42)
  24. 24 Jump for Joy (2:56)
Disc 3
  1. 1 Chocolate Shake (2:56)
  2. 2 I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) (3:21)
  3. 3 Clementine (3:01)
  4. 4 Brown-Skin Gal (In the Calico Gown) (3:11)
  5. 5 Jump for Joy (2:54)
  6. 6 Moon Over Cuba (3:15)
  7. 7 Five O'Clock Drag (3:14)
  8. 8 Rocks in My Bed (3:09)
  9. 9 Bli-Blip (3:07)
  10. 10 Rain Check (2:32)
  11. 11 What Good Would It Do? (2:48)
  12. 12 I Don't Know What Kind of Blues I Got (3:17)
  13. 13 Chelsea Bridge (2:56)
  14. 14 Perdido (3:10)
  15. 15 C Jam Blues (2:39)
  16. 16 Moon Mist (3:00)
  17. 17 What Am I Here For? (3:27)
  18. 18 I Don't Mind (2:51)
  19. 19 Someone (3:10)
  20. 20 My Little Brown Book (3:14)
  21. 21 Main Stem (2:51)
  22. 22 Johnny Come Lately (2:43)
  23. 23 Hayfoot, Strawfoot (2:36)
  24. 24 Sentimental Lady (3:04)
  25. 25 A Slip of the Lip (Can Sink a Ship) (2:58)
  26. 26 Sherman Shuffle (2:38)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Duke Ellington Primary Artist, Piano, Celeste, Soloist, Group Member
Johnny Hodges Clarinet, Reeds, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Soloist, Group Member
Ray Nance Trumpet, Violin, Vocals, Soloist, Group Member
Rex Stewart Cornet, Soloist, Group Member
Ben Webster Reeds, Tenor Saxophone, Soloist, Group Member
Cootie Williams Trumpet, Soloist, Group Member
Lawrence Brown Trombone, Soloist
Herb Jeffries Vocals, Soloist, Group Member
Ivie Anderson Vocals, Soloist, Group Member
Jimmy Blanton Bass, Soloist
Sonny Greer Drums, Soloist, Group Member
Barney Bigard Clarinet, Reeds, Tenor Saxophone, Soloist, Group Member
Harry Carney Clarinet, Reeds, Alto Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Soloist, Group Member
Fred Guy Guitar, Group Member
Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton Trombone, Group Member
Billy Strayhorn Piano, Celeste, Soloist, Group Member
Juan Tizol Valve Trombone, Soloist, Group Member
Wallace Jones Trumpet, Group Member
Otto Hardwick Reeds, Alto Saxophone, Group Member
Chauncey Houghton Clarinet, Reeds, Tenor Saxophone, Group Member
Lawrence D. Brown Trombone, Group Member
Edward Kennedy Ellington Indexed Contributor
Technical Credits
James Brown Composer
Roger Waters Composer
Mercer Ellington Arranger, Composer
Rex Stewart Composer
Ben Webster Arranger, Composer
Irving Mills Composer
Jimmy Mundy Composer
Nick Mason Composer
Pete Shelley Composer
Richard Wright Composer
Josef Myrow Composer
Luther Henderson Composer
Jimmy Blanton Composer
Jerome Kern Composer
Edmund Anderson Composer
Barney Bigard Composer
Chick Corea Composer
Ervin Drake Composer
Al Dubin Composer
Duke Ellington Arranger, Composer
Milt Gabler Composer
Kim Gannon Composer
David Gilmour Composer
Johnny Green Composer
Ted Grouya Composer
Edward Heyman Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Orrin Keepnews Producer, Reissue Producer
Steve Lasker Producer, Reissue Producer
Jack Lawrence Composer
Mitchell Parish Composer
Bob Russell Composer
Carl Sigman Composer
Billy Strayhorn Arranger, Composer
Juan Tizol Composer
Paul Francis Webster Composer
E.G. White Composer
Jack Fulton Composer
Brian Priestley Liner Notes, Annotation
Ben Young Compilation Supervisor
Paul McGrane Composer
Robert Sour Composer
Frank Eyton Composer
Edgar Leslie Composer
H.J. Lengsfelder Composer
Neil Moret (Chas. N. Daniels) Composer
Lee Gaines Composer
Abner Silver Composer
Charles B. Lawlor Composer
Jack Scholl Composer
Gladys Shelley Composer
Buddy Pepper Composer
Inez James Composer
Joe Burke Composer
Sid Kuller Composer
Gene Irwin Composer
M.K. Jerome Composer
Jack O'Brien Composer
Brian Priestly Liner Notes, Annotation
Leslie Composer
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Best of Ellington?

    Many jazz fans feel that these recordings represent the pinnacle of Ellington's musical achievement, with the brilliant stalwarts (Hodges, Carney, Greer, et al.) now joined by young bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor man Ben Webster. This incarnation of the Ellington band lasted only from 1940-42, but these three discs capture all the magic. The monaural sound may not be everyone's cup of tea, but once you get into the music, you won't notice the sonic limitations; and if Ivie Anderson's rendition of "Jump for Joy" doesn't get you out of your chair, it may be time to schedule a medical checkup.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews