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



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DUKE ELLINGTON

The Treasury Shows Vol. 16

Storyville D.E.T.S.
903 9016

 

 

CD1
1. (Theme) Take the "A" Train & broadcast intro
2. Just A-Sittin' And A-Rockin'
3. (Theme) Take the "A" Train
4. 9.20 Special
5. Frustration
6. Ellington Bond Promo
7. Jennie
8. Dancing in the Dark
9. Crosstown
10. Passion Flower
11. Bond Promo
12. Victory Drive
13. Get On Board Little Children
14. (Theme) Take the "A" Train and broadcast return
15. Black, Brown & Beige: Come Sunday, Light
16. Ellington Bond Promo
17. 11.60 pm
18. Tell It to a Star
19. I Ain't Got Nothin' But the Blues
20. Cotton Tail
21. Waiting for the Train to Come In
22. Star Spangled Banner and broadcast closing
23. Subtle Slough
24. Main Stem
25. Bakiff

CD2
1. (Theme) Take the "A" Train and broadcast intro
2. Walking With My Honey
3. Jack the Bear
4. Autumn Serenade
5. Ellington Bond Promo
6. Tell It to a Star
7. Hey Diddle Diddle
8. I Can't Begin to Tell You
9. How Deep Is the Ocean
10. The Wonder of You
11. Victory Drive
12. As Long As I Live & broadcast closing
13. Take the "A" Train
14. Interview With Duke Ellington
15. The Canteen Bounce
16. Perdido
17. Interview With Duke Ellington
18. Hayfoot, Strawfoot
19. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
20. Interview With Duke Ellington
21. A Slip of the Lip
22. Things Ain't What They Used to Be
23. Interview With Duke Ellington
24. Ring Dem Bells
25. Moon Mist
26. C Jam Blues
27. It Don't Mean a Thing
28. Tonight I Shall Sleep
29. Ring Dem Bells
30. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
31. Things Ain't What They Used to Be

Collective personnel
Duke Ellington - Piano
Taft Jordan, Shelton Hemphill, Cat Anderson, Wallace Jones, Harold Baker, Ray Nance - Trumpets
Rex Stewart - Cornet
Joseph Nanton, Lawrence Brown, Claude Jones, Juan Tizol, Sandy Williams, Wilbur De Paris, Bernard Archer - Trombones
Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick - Alto saxes
Nat Jones - Clarinet, alto sax
Al Sears, Ben Webster, Skippy Williams - Tenor saxes
Jimmy Hamilton - Clarinet, tenor sax
Harry Carney - Baritone sax, clarinet, bass clarinet
Fred Guy - Guitar
Junior Raglin, Nelson "Lloyd" Trotman, Oscar Pettiford - Bass
Sonny Greer - Drums
Al Hibbler, Kay Davis, The Mellotones - Vocals
 

Having already reviewed more than one of the albums in this series, I don't need to repeat their history. On this double album, two Treasury broadcasts are filled out with some 1943 recordings from various sources. This means a varied quality of sound, which is sometimes less acceptable than the consistency of other Treasury albums. For example, tracks 13 to 24 on the second CD come from "The Fitch Bandwagon Broadcast" in 1943 and the recording is marred by some fuzziness. There seems to be some surface noise on track 19 which might have been removed by remastering.

However, most of the first CD and the first 12 tracks of the second CD come from 1945 Treasury broadcasts and the sound is generally fine, although it is still an irritant that there are so many appeals for people to buy Treasury Bonds. For instance, Waiting for the Train to Come In (a typically Ellingtonian railroad theme which was only recorded in 1945) is interrupted by one of those appeals, even though it cuts off a marvellous Johnny Hodges solo.

One of the musicians who stands out in these recordings is Harry Carney, whose brilliance on the baritone saxophone in tunes like Frustration and Tell It to a Star is matched by his expertise on the bass clarinet in Walking with My Honey. Carney was displaying a wondrous tone on the bass clarinet years before Eric Dolphy supposedly revived it.

Another outstanding musician here is Al Sears, whose tenor sax enlivens many tracks. Sears replaced Ben Webster in the band (although Ben is heard on some of the 1943 recordings here) and he adopts Webster's role in Cotton Tail, although the tempo is a little too hectic for comfort. Another instrumentalist who takes over a memorable role is bassist Oscar Pettiford, who features in Jack the Bear which was made famous by Jimmy Blanton.

Ellington used various singers at this time, including Kay Davis, who the sleeve-notes record as having died in 2012. In I Ain't Got Nothin' but the Blues, she cleverly ad-libs wordlessly behind Al Hibbler, who sings the lyrics. Betty Roch‚ sings Hayfoot Strawfoot after a growling intro which sounds like the inimitable Rex Stewart.

Other highlights include two excerpts from Black, Brown and Beige, including many tempo changes over 12 minutes and featuring several band members such as Johnny Hodges and bassist Lloyd Trotman. The sleeve-notes mention Billy Strayhorn playing the piano in his composition Passion Flower but he is not listed among the personnel.

All in all, this album is as interesting as the previous Treasury releases, although the poor sound quality on some tracks makes it slightly less recommendable.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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