Duke Ellington and His Orchestra: The Treasury Shows Vol. 17

People always ask me, “Can you have a happy life without listening to every recording by Duke Ellington?” To which I reply, “Of course, but why take a chance?”

Here, you’ve got vintage Duke from 1944-46; broadcasts from the Civic Opera House in Chicago, the Hurricane Restaurant in NYC (can you imagine EATING TO THIS?!?!?) and from Radio City Studios in NYC. Some vocals by AL Hibbler, Kay Davis and The Mellotones (On “Caldonia,” of all things!) keep the pace varied, but let’s be honest-you want that velvety sax secion of Hodges, Hardwick, Carney, Hamilton and Sears on material such as on “Magenta Haze” with Hodges floating like a cirrus cloud, and a rollicking “Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue” that delivers 12+ minutes of caffeinated joy. The buttery brass team that includes Laurence Brown, Juan Tizol, Claude Jones, Rex Stewart, Taft Jordan and Cat Anderson bunches like Sugar Ray on “Air Conditioned Jungle” and “Jump For Joy,” while Stewart gets a valve job on “Boy Meets Horn.” Of course, interspersed between the songs are promotions for War Bonds (what a concept! Paying for a war as you go along!).  Undeservedly forgotten soloists such as Al Sears’ smoky tenor on “Just A-Sittin’ and A-Rockin” as well as some banter between bassist Oscar Pettiford and the Duke on “Pitter Patter Panther” are joyful inclusions, and rare Ellington pieces suc as “Rugged Romeo” and “Rhapsoditty”  are just a couple of the reasons why these cd sets are essential. Just one request: MORE!!!

Storyville Records


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