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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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DUKE ELLINGTON

Swingin' Suites,
Bal Masque,
Midnight in Paris,
The Count Meets the Duke

Avid AMSC 1158

 

 

CD1

Selections from Peer Gynt Suites

1. Morning Mood

2. In The Hall Of The Mountain King

3. Solvejg’s Song

4. Ase’s Death

5. Anitra’s Dance

Suite Thursday

6. Misfit Blues

7. Schwiphti

8. Zweet Zurzday

9. Lay-By

At The Bal Masque

10. Alice Blue Gown

11. Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?

12. Got A Date With An Angel

13. Poor Butterfly

14. Satan Takes A Holiday

15. The Peanut Vendor

16. Satin Doll

17. Lady In Red

18. Indian Love Call

19. The Donkey Serenade

20. Gypsy Love Song

21. Laugh, Clown, Laugh

Midnight In Paris

22. Under Paris Skies

23. I Wish You Love

CD2

Midnight In Paris

1. Mademoiselle de Paris

2. Comme Ci, Comme Ca

3. Speak to Me of Love

4. A Midnight In Paris

5. My Heart Sings

6. Guitar Amour

7. The Petite Waltz

8. Paris Blues

9. Javapachacha

10. No Regrets

11. The River Seine

The Count Meets The Duke First Time!

12. Battle Royal

13. To You

14. Take The ”A” Train

15. Until I Met You

16. Wild Man

17. Segue In C

18. BDB

19. Jumpin’ At The Woodside

Swingin’ Suites

Duke Ellington - Piano

Willie Cook, Eddie Mullins, Andres Meringuito - Trumpets

Ray Nance - Trumpet, violin

Lawrence Brown, “Booty” Wood, Britt Woodman, Juan Tizol, Matthew Gee - Trombones

Jimmy Hamilton - Clarinet, tenor sax

Russell Procope - Alto sax, clarinet

Johnny Hodges - Alto sax

Paul Gonsalves - Tenor sax

Harry Carney - Baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Aaron Bell - Bass

Sam Woodyard - Drums

At The Bal Masque

Duke Ellington - Piano

Clark Terry, Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, Harold "Shorty" Baker - Trumpets

Ray Nance - Trumpet, violin

Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman, John Sanders - Trombones

Jimmy Hamilton - Clarinet, tenor sax

Russell Procope - Alto sax, clarinet

Johnny Hodges - Alto sax

Bill Graham - Alto sax, tenor sax, baritone sax

Paul Gonsalves - Tenor sax

Harry Carney - Baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Jimmy Woode - Bass

Sam Woodyard - Drums

Midnight In Paris

Duke Ellington - Piano

Cat Anderson, Bill Berry, Harold "Shorty" Baker - Trumpets

Ray Nance - Trumpet, violin

Lawrence Brown, Chuck Connors, Lyle Cox - Trombones

Jimmy Hamilton - Clarinet

Russell Procope - Alto sax, clarinet

Johnny Hodges - Alto sax

Paul Gonsalves - Tenor sax

Harry Carney - Baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Aaron Bell - Bass

Sam Woodyard - Drums

The Count Meets The Duke First Time!

The Count Basie Orchestra

Count Basie - Piano

Thad Jones, Sonny Cohn, Snooky Young, Lonnie Johnson - Trumpets

Henry Coker, Quentin Jackson, Benny Powell - Trombones

Marshall Royal - Clarinet, alto sax

Frank Wess - Alto sax, tenor sax, flute

Frank Foster, Budd Johnson - Tenor saxes

Charlie Fowlkes - Baritone sax

Freddie Green - Guitar

Eddie Jones - Bass

Sonny Payne - Drums

The Duke Ellington Orchestra

Duke Ellington - Piano

Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, Fats Ford, Eddie Mullins - Trumpets

Ray Nance - Trumpet, violin

Louis Blackburn, Lawrence Brown, Juan Tizol - Trombones

Jimmy Hamilton - Clarinet, tenor sax

Russell Procope - Alto sax, clarinet

Paul Gonsalves - Tenor sax

Harry Carney - Baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Aaron Bell - Bass

Sam Woodyard - Drums

This is a strange mixture of Ducal recordings on a double CD from the Avid label.

Having reinterpreted Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite to mixed reviews, Ellington and Strayhorn had a go at five items from Grieg’s Peer Gynt in 1960. The liveliest track is In the Hall of the Mountain King, which starts mysteriously but soon peps up into a brisk tempo, with some gorgeous sounds from the finest sax section on earth. The Duke plays a spirited piano solo and ends the track with some mischievous extra notes. Solvejg’s Song is delivered by an impressive trombone, and an unaccompanied clarinet (probably from Jimmy Hamilton) wafts in the air. Ase’s Death is a gloomy funeral march, and Anitra’s Dance dances all the way to its end.

Suite Thursday is a four-piece Ducal reflection on the world of John Steinbeck’s novel 1954 Sweet Thursday. Misfit Blues starts off in classical mode but develops into an easygoing blues, while Schwiphti is a rather fragmentary up-tempo number before Paul Gonsalves lets loose with a swirling solo. Lay-By is an attractive, bouncy piece which has been taken up by taken up by such artists as Stan Tracey. Ray Nance is featured for most of the way on his distinctive violin, pizzicato as well as arco.

I reviewed At the Bal Masque in 2011. I think “Masque” should have an acute accent on the E, but what do I know?

Midnight in Paris tries to capture the Parisian atmosphere by means of performing Paris-themed tunes. Three of them are by Ellington/Strayhorn but the rest are such familiar songs as Comme Ci, Comme Ca and No Regrets. The album might have been inspired by Ellington’s stay in Paris recording the music for the film Paris Blues. The critic Scott Yanow called the album “Pretty music but far from essential”, but I find that it grows on you with repeated listenings and contains several memorable touches as well as some fine solos.

Ray Nance’s trumpet savours I Wish You Love. Sam Woodyard’s hand-struck tom-toms add a Latin-American slant to Speak to Me of Love which includes some neat clarinet obbligato from Jimmy Hamilton (mis-spelt “Jimmie” in the sleeve-note). The title-track is an attractive, hummable piece composed by Billy Strayhorn. In Guitar Amour, the drums go rat-a-tat while Ray Nance’s violin performs a typically lyrical solo. The Petite Waltz has an intriguing section where the brass states a phrase and the saxes riposte with another phrase that sounds out-of-tune! The theme of No Regrets is stated with emotion by Lawrence Brown, against some effective punctuating chords. Duke adds a brief piano postscript. And a sanguine Johnny Hodges brings to a close this pleasant visit to Paris.

I reviewed The Count Meets the Duke in 2012. It is a pity that the Avid version doesn’t give the track Until I Met You its more familiar title: Corner Pocket.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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