Used to Be Duke [Bonus Tracks]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
This CD reissue of Used to Be Duke from 1954 is historically significant in that it celebrates the substantive time Johnny Hodges spent with the Duke Ellington orchestra by playing music written by his bandmembers who also appear on this album. The title indeed implies a past association when in fact it was around this time that Hodges rejoined Ellington's band after a five-year hiatus. Actually a nonet instead of a full-blown orchestra, the group includes two significant non-Ellingtonians in pianist Richie Powell and tenor saxophonist "Johnny Coltrane." Powell's new (at this time) membership in the Clifford Brown-Max Roach combo and his stewardship in this group from...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
This CD reissue of Used to Be Duke from 1954 is historically significant in that it celebrates the substantive time Johnny Hodges spent with the Duke Ellington orchestra by playing music written by his bandmembers who also appear on this album. The title indeed implies a past association when in fact it was around this time that Hodges rejoined Ellington's band after a five-year hiatus. Actually a nonet instead of a full-blown orchestra, the group includes two significant non-Ellingtonians in pianist Richie Powell and tenor saxophonist "Johnny Coltrane." Powell's new (at this time) membership in the Clifford Brown-Max Roach combo and his stewardship in this group from 1952-1954 ended in the tragic automobile accident that took both Powell and Brown's life in June of 1956. Coltrane, fresh out of the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra playing alto saxophone, is only an ensemble player here with no solo features and a blended-in sound for which the listener really has to strain to hear him at all. It's a pity that Hodges sublimated 'Trane's role in this band -- it could have been marvelous. The music itself is solid enough, including the classic, happy, blues/swing/jam session title track loaded with a string of concise solos. Standards like "On the Sunny Side of the Street" (with pianist Call Cobbs for his lone appearance,) Ellington's "Warm Valley" and "Sweet Lorraine" would be summer stock if not for the extra sensitive solos by Hodges or trumpeter Harold "Shorty" Baker. The rather humorous "Sweet as Bear Meat" also has a moaning vibrato tone reflecting the contradictory title. The second half of the date features ballads and a single chosen soloist per song including Baker, clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton, baritone saxophonist Harry Carney, trombonist Lawrence Brown and Hodges. Powell's showcase during "Autumn in New York" is particularly poignant in its half-speed tempo, cascading chords from the pianist, and Hodges in late. Drummer Louie Bellson is solid as a rock throughout, and analyzing his picture-perfect swing technique would make for a good term paper. One of the better recordings from Hodges as a leader, it's good to have this item back in the marketplace, and comes easily recommended.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/14/2009
  • Label: Verve
  • UPC: 602517967151
  • Catalog Number: 001256002
  • Sales rank: 5,091

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Johnny Hodges Orchestra Primary Artist
Johnny Hodges Indexed Contributor, Alto Saxophone
Louie Bellson Drums
Harold Baker Trumpet
Harry Carney Baritone Saxophone
Call Cobbs Piano
John Coltrane Tenor Saxophone
Jimmy Hamilton Clarinet
John Williams [double bass] Bass
Lawrence D. Brown Trombone
Technical Credits
Johnny Hodges Composer
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Vincent Youmans Composer
Vernon Duke Composer
Jerome Kern Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Mack Gordon Composer
Jimmy Hamilton Composer
Otto Harbach Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Mitchell Parish Composer
Kevin Reeves Mastering
Norman Leonard Cover Photo
Hollis King Art Direction
Harold Adamson Composer
Clifford R. Burwell Composer
Lew Fields Composer
Raymond Hubbell Composer
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