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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Blue Abandon
Radio Transcriptions & Concert Recordings



  1. Crosstown
  2. Magenta Haze
  3. The Eighth Veil
  4. Blue Abandon
  5. Sono
  6. Tip Toe Topic
  7. Hey, Baby
  8. Fickle Fling
  9. The Unbooted Character
  10. The Suburbanite
  11. Moon Mist
  12. Double Ruff
  13. A Flower is a Lovesome Thing
  14. The Mooche

Deep South Suite

15. Intro. By Leonard Feather
Magnolias Dripping with Molasses
Hearsay Or Orson Welles
Nobody was Lookin’
Happy Go Lucky Local
Ellington/ Billy Stray horn - Piano
Ernest Meyers / Oscar Pettiford - Bass
Sonny Greer - Drums
Taft Jordan, Shelton Hemphill, Cat Anderson, Francis Williams, Bernard Flood, ‘Shorty’ Baker - Trumpet
Lawrence Brown, Claude Jones, Wilbur DeParis, Tricky Sam Nanton - Trombone
Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick, Russell Procope, Jimmy Hamilton, Al Sears, Harry Carney - Saxophone & Clarinet

The more I listen to the work of Duke Ellington and I have been listening for 50 years now, the more I can appreciate just what a ‘giant’ in the world of jazz he was and how much everyone who has followed on since, owes him as a dept of gratitude for the wonderful music he produced and the sensational bands he lead.

The band at this time was in something of a transition with some of the older players leaving and being replaced by new members and what new members! To have Jimmy Hamilton and Al Sears join the band on Tenor was only two of the changes, which left the band with even more of an individual sound than before, both are superb soloists. I had not heard very much of Al Sears until I heard this record, but what an accomplished and polished soloist he was. Jimmy Hamilton on the other hand is well known to anyone who has any familiarity with the Ellington band.

Personally I enjoyed the Radio transcriptions more than the Deep South Suite, the sound is better for a start and the band seems to me to swing more. For Ellington aficionados there are some very interesting things here. A solo feature for Harry Carney, whose wonderful baritone sax sound is something I can never get enough of.

The Duke rarely featured him in an extended solo, it was usually a few bars here or there. The Suburbanite allows Al Sears to show of his amazing technique, wonderful tone and his ability to improvise at high speed. It may be as the sleeve note suggests that as Sears came after Ben Webster and before Paul Gonsalves, he has not had the recognition he deserves. There is also a new version of The Mooche, which had been in the Dukes pad for sometime, but always comes out fresh. Sam Nanton was featured on this track as he was on the original version, but this was to be one of his last performances as he died shortly afterward.

For the many fans of the Duke and I am one of them, this is essential material for the collection.

Don Mather

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