Friday Night Jazz: Duke Ellington

An excellent WSJ article on Duke Ellington (by Nat Hentoff, former Village Voice music critic) has me all excited about a new box set: The Duke Box.

Here’s Hentoff’s comments:

"I now have a sense of what heaven could be like. For those of us
for whom Duke Ellington is rejuvenatingly contemporary, Storyville — the
legendary Danish label, a cornucopia of ageless jazz — has released "The Duke
Box," available on and in record stores. The 1940s Ellington
orchestra (his most exhilarating) is heard entirely in "live" performances — in
dance halls (where, as Duke told me, the dancers became part of the music),
nightclubs, concert halls, and on radio remotes from around the country.

DukeIn the 40-page booklet — with photographs by Herman Leonard and
William Gottlieb, masters of decisive jazz moments — Dan Morgenstern notes that
the sound of Ellington "live" is more vividly realistic than "the dead
(non-resonant) studios of that time." (Those studio recordings also do remain
essential because Duke insisted on no more than two or three takes a song for
maximum immediacy.) But, as I can attest from having been at some of the dance
halls and concerts, Ellington and his wondrously distinctive sidemen were most
memorably heard in person."

The WSJ was kind enough to move the entire article over to free WSJ as a courtesy to the weekend linkfest (Thanks, Dave!).

C Jam Blues (which sounds an awful lot like Duke’s Place)

Satin Doll





Ellington’s Band Is Heavenly In These ‘Live’ ’40s Recordings
WSJ, March 28, 2007; Page D11

free WSJ

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Robert Coté commented on Mar 30

    Uncle Barry?… what’s a “record store?”

  2. Lenny Perts commented on Mar 30

    Jazz is vastly overrated. It only became listenable when Heavy Metal bands began putting Jazzy beats(riffs) on the classical European scale with the electric guitar.

    P….Pe….Per…..Per……PER…….PERTS PERTS PERTS!!!!!!

  3. microtherion commented on Mar 30

    My favorite version of “Caravan” is the one played by James Carter on “J.C. on the Set”

  4. Tom B commented on Mar 30

    “C Jam Blues (which sounds an awful lot like Duke’s Place)”

    I think they are the same piece–alternate names.

  5. Tom B commented on Mar 30

    Here’s one for you, Barry:

    John Zorn won the McArthur this year. Some of his stuff is wierd; some is really interesting.

  6. Tom B commented on Mar 30

    “Here’s one for you, Barry:

    John Zorn won the McArthur this year. Some of his stuff is wierd; some is really interesting.”

    My post didn’t embed. I’ll paste the URL:

  7. S commented on Mar 31

    Tom B…thank you.

  8. howard commented on Apr 1

    since no one else has mentioned it, let me say thanks for alerting me to this boxed set, barry.

    if the entire recorded history of jazz were to disappear overnight, you could reconstruct every significant element of the music simply by working from the complete ellington.

    if i could only pick one ellington album, though, it wouldn’t be from the ’40s, great as those bands were: it would be the Far East Suite from the mid-’60s, followed by the roughly 1960 (can’t recall offhand) “great summit” of armstrong and ellington together….

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