The Duke - The Essential Collection: 1927-1962

The Duke - The Essential Collection: 1927-1962

by Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington


1 New & Used Starting at $19.99


It's a question as old as time itself: Can you have too much of a good thing? On the occasion of last year's Duke Ellington centennial celebration, RCA -- which has the greatest single trove of Ellington's protean career -- posed that question with a 24-CD boxed set. Columbia Records -- which may have the second-greatest trove of Ellingtonia -- took a more modest approach, reissuing newly restored versions of some of Ellington's finest individual Columbia albums, and compiling this wallet-friendly 3-CD retrospective.
The Columbia discs break down into Duke's three stints with the label or its subsidiaries. The first disc, 1927-1940, features the greatest hits of a period when Ellington recorded simultaneously for two other labels, often recording the same material for all three. Early versions of "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" and "Black and Tan Fantasy" are here, as are such magnificent lesser-known pieces as "Braggin' in Brass" and "Portrait of the Lion." This building of the great Ellington orchestra is beautifully detailed in these 25 tracks -- without an inessential one in the bunch - in which Ellington builds the band and the sound that would sustain his career. The last track on the disc, "Sophisticated Lady," features Billy Strayhorn's first chart for the band.
Ellington's greatest recordings are probably his early 1940s sides for RCA. The second disc, 1947-1952, picks the band up after the War and the mid-'40s recording ban. Players have come (Ray Nance, Cat Anderson, Paul Gonsalves) and gone, bebop has taken hold, and attitudes have changed (the big band era was over). But Ellington is still hard at work, crafting more sophisticated, ambitious pieces -- some of the tracks here are parts of extended works -- along with novelties and vocals. Columbia has the cream of that period. Hard-swinging pieces are still in evidence -- "Stomp, Look and Listen" and "Three Cent Stomp" both, well, stomp -- but there is also an introduction of the solemn majesty of late Ellington, with "I Like the Sunrise" and "The Tattooed Bride."
The third disc, 1956-1962, begins with Ellington's triumphant appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956, where the world took notice of the fact that America's greatest bandleader was still -- years after the death of the big band era-leading America's greatest band. Oddly, for a set titled ESSENTIAL, the night's crowning performance, "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue," is missing in favor of "Jeep's Blues." Otherwise, this, again, is a well-plotted course through a fascinating period, with fabulous collaborations (Mahalia Jackson, Rosemary Clooney, Count Basie), vibrant work for TV and movies ("Flirtibird," from ANATOMY OF A MURDER, "The Theme from Asphalt Jungle"), and robust features for his soloists (Clark Terry's "Perdido"). For a revelation, listen to "Blue Rose," a 1956 piece written for Rosemary Clooney. As saxophonist Donald Harrison has pointed out, it's a roadmap for John Coltrane's groundbreaking "Giant Steps." How much is too much? Three CDs of lovingly produced, well-chosen Ellington is never too much.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/07/2000
Label: Sony
UPC: 0074646584125
catalogNumber: 65841


Disc 1

  1. Hot and Bothered
  2. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo
  3. Black and Tan Fantasy
  4. Black Beauty
  5. Ring Dem Bells
  6. The Mooche
  7. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
  8. Slippery Horn
  9. Saddest Tale
  10. Showboat Shuffle
  11. In a Sentimental Mood
  12. In a Jam
  13. Caravan
  14. The Gal from Joe's
  15. Braggin' in Brass
  16. I Let a Song Go out of My Heart
  17. Battle of Swing
  18. Prelude to a Kiss
  19. Slap Happy
  20. Old King Dooji
  21. Portrait of the Lion
  22. Country Gal
  23. Little Posey
  24. Tootin' Through the Roof
  25. Sophisticated Lady

Disc 2

  1. Hy'a Sue
  2. Lady of the Lavender Mist
  3. Antidisestablishmentarianismist
  4. Golden Cress
  5. Sultry Serenade
  6. Change My Ways
  7. Stomp, Look and Listen
  8. On a Turquoise Cloud
  9. Three Cent Stamp
  10. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
  11. Progressive Gavotte
  12. I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me
  13. I Like the Sunrise
  14. Snibor
  15. Creole Love Call
  16. The Tattooed Bride
  17. Brown Betty
  18. Primpin' at the Prom
  19. Monologue (Pretty and the Wolf)
  20. Take the "A" Train

Disc 3

  1. Jeep's Blues
  2. Solitude
  3. Blue Rose
  4. The Star-Crossed Lovers (AKA Pretty Girl)
  5. Mood Indigo
  6. Dancers in Love
  7. Come Sunday
  8. Satin Doll
  9. Flirtibird
  10. Perdido
  11. C Jam Blues
  12. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
  13. Happy Go Lucky Local
  14. Something to Live For
  15. Creole Blues
  16. Dance of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)
  17. Lotus Blossom
  18. A Midnight in Paris
  19. Asphalt Jungle (Theme)
  20. Battle Royal
  21. Duke Loves You Madly

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Duke Ellington   Primary Artist,Piano,Speech/Speaker/Speaking Part
Lonnie Johnson   Guitar
Mahalia Jackson   Vocals
Rosemary Clooney   Vocals
Hibbler   Vocals
Cat Anderson   Trumpet
Louie Bellson   Drums
Bill Berry   Trumpet
Mercer Ellington   French Horn
Jimmy Forrest   Trombone
Paul Gonsalves   Reeds,Saxophone
Freddie Green   Guitar
Johnny Hodges   Reeds,Alto Saxophone
Budd Johnson   Reeds
Thad Jones   Trumpet
Ray Nance   Trumpet,Violin,Cornet,Vocals
Oscar Pettiford   Bass,Double Bass
Betty Roché   Vocals
Charlie Rouse   Trombone
Marshall Royal   Reeds
Sears   Reeds
Willie Smith   Clarinet,Reeds
Rex Stewart   Trumpet
Ben Webster   Reeds
Gerald Wilson   Trumpet
Cootie Williams   Trumpet
Jabbo Smith   Trumpet
Shorty Baker   Trumpet
Dud Bascomb   Trumpet
Aaron Bell   Bass,Double Bass
Lawrence Brown   Trombone
Dave Burns   Trumpet
Willie Cook   Trumpet
Tyree Glenn   Trombone
Louis Metcalf   Trumpet
Jimmy Woode   Bass,Double Bass
Russell Procope   Clarinet,Reeds,Saxophone
Bubber Miley   Trumpet
Ivie Anderson   Vocals
Chuck Connors   Trombone
Quentin Jackson   Trombone
Britt Woodman   Trombone
Jimmy Blanton   Bass,Double Bass
Wellman Braud   Bass,Double Bass
Sonny Greer   Drums,Bells
Hayes Alvis   Bass
Harold Baker   Trumpet
Barney Bigard   Reeds
Roy Burrowes   Trumpet
Harry Carney   Reeds,Bass Clarinet,Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone
Clark Terry   Trumpet
Sonny Cohn   Trumpet
Henry Coker   Trombone
Kay Davis   Vocals
Frank Foster   Reeds
Charlie Fowlkes   Reeds
Fred Guy   Banjo,Guitar
Jimmy Hamilton   Clarinet,Reeds,Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Hodges   Soprano Saxophone
Rudy Jackson   Reeds
Freddie Jenkins   Trumpet
Lennie Johnson   Guitar,Trumpet
Claude Jones   Trombone
Porter Kilbert   Reeds
Killian   Trumpet
Wendell Marshall   Bass,Double Bass
Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton   Trombone
Sonny Payne   Drums
John Sanders   Trombone
Billy Strayhorn   Piano
Juan Tizol   Trombone
Frank Wess   Reeds
Arthur Whetsol   Trumpet
Michael Booty Wood   Trombone
Sam Woodyard   Drums
Snooky Young   Trumpet
Wilbur De Paris   Trombone
Wallace Jones   Trumpet
Nelson Williams   Trumpet
Prince Robinson   Clarinet,Reeds
Charlie Allen   Trumpet
Junior Raglin   Bass
Billy Taylor   Bass
Baby Cox   Vocals
Francis Williams   Trumpet
Otto Hardwick   Reeds,Soprano Saxophone
Fats Ford   Trumpet
Mack Shaw   Tuba
Jon Carroll   Trumpet
Fred Johnson   Trombone
Johnny Sanders   Trombone
Eddie Mullins   Trumpet
Matthew Gee   Trombone

Technical Credits

Mercer Ellington   Composer
Lawrence Brown   Composer
Irving Mills   Composer
Henri Renaud   Producer
Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Duke Ellington   Composer,Adaptation
John Latouche   Composer
Mitchell Parish   Composer
Billy Strayhorn   Composer
Juan Tizol   Composer
Mark Wilder   Remixing
Seth Rothstein   Director
Howard Fritzson   Art Direction
Don George   Composer
Clarence Gaskill   Composer
Ted Persons   Composer
Seth Foster   Remixing
Robert O'Meally   Liner Notes
Hans Lengsfelder   Composer

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