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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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DUKE ELLINGTON

The Treasury Shows, Vol. 15

Storyville DETS 903 9015

 

 

CD 1
1. (Theme) Take The "A" Train
2. Johnny Come Lately
3. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
4. I'll Buy That Dream
5. Stomp, Look And Listen into station break
6. (Theme) Take The "A" Train and broadcast return
7. The Wonder Of You
8. Ellington bond promo
9. Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho
10. The General Jumped At Dawn
11. Mood To Be Wooed
12. Three Cent Stomp
13. Yesterdays
14. Ellington bond promo
15. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me
16. Stompy Jones
17. Time's A-Wastin' and broadcast closing
18. As Time Goes By
19. Way Low
20. Around My Heart
21. Perdido
22. Ogeechee River Lullaby
 
CD 2
1. Oh, Lady Be Good
2. Nevada
3. Just Squeeze Me (Subtle Slough)
4. (Theme) Take The "A" Train and broadcast intro
5. Clementine
6. The Jeep Is Jumpin'
7. Don't Take Your Love From Me
8. It Don't Mean A Thing
9. Ellington bond promo
10. If You Are But A Dream
11. Emancipation Celebration
12. Caldonia
13. Ring Dem Bells into station break
14. (Theme) Take The "A" Train and broadcast return
15. A Door Will Open
16. Ellington bond promo
17. Court Session
18. That's For Me
19. On The Atcheson, Topeka And The Santa Fe
20. Every Hour On The Hour
21. Ellington bond promo
22. How Deep Is The Ocean
23. Victory Drive
24. Autumn Serenade
25. (Theme) Take The "A" Train into broadcast closing

Collective personnel
Duke Ellington - Piano, arranger
Billy Strayhorn - Piano, arranger
Taft Jordan, Shelton Hemphill, Cat Anderson, Wallace Jones, Harold Baker, Ray Nance - Trumpets
Rex Stewart - Cornet, trumpet
Joseph Nanton, Lawrence Brown, Claude Jones, Juan Tizol, Sandy Williams - Trombones
Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick, Scotty Scott - Alto saxes
Sax Mallard, Nat Jones - Clarinets, alto saxes
Al Sears, Ben Webster - Tenor saxes
Jimmy Hamilton - Clarinet, tenor sax
Harry Carney - Baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
Fred Guy - Guitar
Junior Raglin - Bass
Sid Catlett, Sonny Greer - Drums
Joya Sherrill, Al Hibbler, Kay Davis, Jimmy Britton, Taft Jordan, The Mellotones - Vocals

 

I have already reviewed the previous volume in this series, and what I said there applies equally to this double album. It contains some more of the broadcasts that the US Treasury sponsored to promote Victory Bonds, which are advertised several times by the Duke, sounding very sincere in his pleas for future world peace ("Let's work for peace with the same spirit and determination that we worked for war").

This set comprises programmes 28 and 29 of the Treasury series from 1945, plus two other broadcasts from 1943 (CD I, tracks 19-22 and CD II, tracks 1-3). The sound quality of the latter (recorded at New York's Hurricane Restaurant) is less clear than on the Treasury broadcasts, with a boxy, smothered quality. Yet there is still some fine music to be heard in these seven tracks. Way Low has excellent solos from several horns; Ben Webster's seductive tenor sax is heard in Perdido, a tune which had only been premiered in 1941; Oh, Lady be Good has a noteworthy piano solo from Ellington and an inventive counter-melody written by Billy Strayhorn; and Subtle Slough is the tune which later became well-known as Just Squeeze Me. The recording jumps in the middle of Nevada.

Highlights of the Treasury Shows include Mood to be Wooed, featuring Johnny Hodges' sublime alto sax; some good ensemble and solos on Three Cent Stomp as well as a bass solo from Junior Raglin which shows what an asset he was to the band; Billy Strayhorn's Clementine; The Jeep Is Jumpin' (sublime Hodges again); It Don't Mean A Thing (with a Websterian tenor solo by Al Sears); Emancipation Celebration (with typically eccentric playing by Rex Stewart in cohort with Joe Nanton). Al Sears' sax is unbelievably smooth in That's For Me. But, as before, nearly every track has something to recommend it.

The vocalists are adequate but hardly given any chance to display their jazz capabilities. For example, Kay Davis and Joya Sherrill are given some sentimental ballads which hardly extend their abilities as singers. Al Hibbler contributes some warm vocals, with Johnny Hodges adding lyrical saxophone to Every Hour On The Hour. The Golden Gate Quartet guests on the first CD, singing Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho and The General Jumped At Dawn, supplying a gospel element.

Unlike some other reissued broadcasts, the announcer here is blessedly brief and factual.

Having listened to two Duke Ellington albums in succession, I am more than ever convinced that he made a unique contribution to music, which everybody should be encouraged to share.

Tony Augarde

www.augardebooks.co.uk



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