DUCAL DELIGHTS…Ed Neumeister: Suite Ellington

Trombonist Ed Neumeister explores the underappreciated small group sound and vision of Duke Ellington on this album with Billy Drewes/as-cl, Jim Rotondi/tp-fh, Fritz Pauer/p, Peter Herbert/b and Jeff Ballard/dr.

Neumeister wisely gives homage to the harmonies and textures of Ellington without succumbing to blind imitation. The centerpiece, a 6 part interpretation of “The Queens Suite” gives lots of space for Pauer’s relaxed piano on “Sunset and the Mocking Bird” while Drewes’ clarinet chirps on “Lightning Bugs and Frogs.” The horns create rich textures on “Le Sucrier Velours the leader gets Lawrence Brown-buttery on “The Single Pedal of A Rose” and the team gets a bit frisky under Herbert’s groove on “Apes and Peacocks.”

The team is loose on the horns as Ballard is crisp during “Caravan” as Drewes’ alto sears, and his clarinet is drop dead gorgeous along with Rotondi’s muted horn on the delightful “Come Sunday.” All of this material was recorded n a 2010 concert except for “Single Pedal” and the gig ended with a bouncy “DEPK” which has the leader in a swinging mood. A great tribute and intro to the world of Ellingtonia.

PAO Records


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