Duke Ellington - piano with collective personnel of:
Arthur Whetsel, Freddie Jenkins, Cootie Williams - trumpet
Rex Stewart - cornet
Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown, Juan Tizol - trombone
Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Otto Hardwick, Barney Bigard - reeds
Fred Guy - guitar / banjo
Wellman Braud, Billy Taylor, Hayes Alvis - bass
Sonny Greer - drums
2. Slippery Horn
3. Dallas Doings
4. Rude Interlude
5. Dear Old Southland
6. Daybreak Express
7. Delta Serenade
8. Stompy Jones
9. Ebony Rhapsody
10. My Old Flame
12. Indigo Echoes
13. Tough Truckin'
15. In A Sentimental Mood
16. Reminiscing In Tempo . Parts 1 - 4
17. Showboat Shuffle
The years 1932 - 1935 were to prove a highly stable time for the Duke
Ellington Orchestra in terms of personnel and a time of evolution
for Ellington himself as a composer. This third volume in the Classic
Recordings Series is significant in that it contains Duke's second
recorded attempt at an extended work outside of the three minute limit
imposed by the 78 rpm disc. ( The first being "Creole Rhapsody"
in 1931 ). "Reminiscing In Tempo " is in four parts - written
to fit on four sides of the conventional record of the day. Whilst
this period proved to be settled with regards to the musicians in
his orchestra, as mentioned earlier, it was to be a time of great
sadness and personal upheaval for Ellington. "Reminiscing"
was written to assuage and express the depth of emotion caused by
the death of his mother - an event which, for a period of time, brought
him to a virtual standstill and left its mark throughout the rest
of his life ( when he was honoured at the White House on the occasion
of his 70th birthday he is reported to have said, " There is
no place I would rather be tonight except in my mother's arms").
Although this composition received a very mixed recepton at the time
from the more serious critics - Spike Hughes described it as "a
long, rambling monstrosity", it is harmonically a most advanced
work and points the way to subsequent glories. Ellington himself described
it as beginning " with pleasant thoughts, then something awful
gets you down. Then you snap out of it and it ends affirmatively."
Suffice it to say that no Ellington record collection can claim to
be truly comprehensive if it does not contain this composition.
The rest of this disc is full of further delights. "Daybreak
Express" is one of those highly evocative " train"
tunes which punctuated Ellington's career and can only be categorised
as a joyous romp. "Dallas Doings " is another version of
Rockin' In Rhythm" and "Rude Interlude " is a skit
on the habit of Constant Lambert's wife of referring to "Mood
Indigo" as "Rude Indigo". This tune features Cootie
Williams on trumpet and a wordless vocal by Louis Bacon.
"Tough Truckin' " has an Ivie Anderson refrain and "Truckin'
" was an early feature for Rex Stewart, among others. Mae West
is the singer on "My Old Flame" and, once again, Ivie Anderson
is heard to great effect on "Ebony Rhapsody ". There are
also early versions of such Ellington classics as "Stompy Jones
" and "In A Sentimental Mood".
This is indispensable Ellington!
D.S. is a professional reed player and teacher living