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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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Duke Ellington

Blues In Orbit

Columbia Legacy

512915-2

 

 

 

1

Three J’s Blues

11

Villes, Ville Is The Place, Man

2

Smada

12

Track 360

3

Pie Eye’s Blues

13

Sentimental Lady

4

Sweet & Pungent

14

Brown Penny

5

C Jam Blues

15

Pie Eye’s Blues (Alt. Take)

6

In A Mellow Tone

16

Sweet & Pungent (Alt. Take)

7

Blues In Blueprint

17

The Swinger’s Jump (Alt. Take)

8

The Swingers Get The Blues Too

18

Blues In Orbit (Alt. Take)

9

The Swinger’s Jump

19

Track 360 (Alt. Take)

10

Blues In Orbit

   

Following the April 2004 reissue of Festival Session, Masterpieces and Ellington Uptown, Sony Jazz continue their celebration of Duke Ellington’s music with the re-mastered ‘Blues In Orbit.’

There are several ‘bonus’ tracks that include five alternative takes. The titles were recorded over five sessions in 1958/9 at studios in Los Angeles and New York City. Besides featuring the full fifteen piece orchestra there is a variety of small group tracks and amongst the performers are many names that have appeared on the rich variety of Duke’s classical recordings over the years.

On ‘Blues In Orbit’ old favourites such as ‘C Jam Blues’ and ‘In A Mellow Tone’ share the spotlight with freshly minted items such as the title track, ‘Blues In Blueprint’ and an Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration ‘Smada. The blues is a jazz form in which Ellington was a master both in composition and performance.

Mentioning just a couple of highlights from this highly recommended CD – ‘C Jam Blues,’ a title we have heard so may times in the past, is on this occasion just as fresh as new. There is an excellent sequence of solos from Matthew Gee, Bootie Wood, Jimmy Hamilton and especially Paul Gonsalves. ‘Brown Penny,’ originally sung by Kay Davis, is rewritten and comes across as a ‘vintage’ Johnny Hodges solo.

The complete album is as usual fired by Ellington’s immense experience in harmony and rhythm at whatever level the compositions call for. Without doubt he always brought out the best in his carefully chosen musicians and that is highly evident on ‘Blues In Orbit’ – a ‘must’ for all Ellington fans.

Jack Ashby



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