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



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DUKE ELLINGTON

The Concert at the Pleyel, Paris 1958

Sounds of Yester Year DSOY 932

 

 

CD1

1. Take the “A” Train

2. Black and Tan Fantasy/Creole Love Call/The Mooch

3. Harlem Airshaft

4. Tenderly

5. Jeep's Blues

6. On the Sunny Side of the Street

7. C Jam Blues

8. Duke's Place

9. Rockin' in Rhythm

10. Such Sweet Thunder

11. Caravan

12. Newport Up

CD2

1. El Gato

2. Take the “A” Train

3. M. C. Blue

4. V.I.P. Boogie

5. Jam With Sam

6. Stompy Jones

7. Hi Fi Fo Fum

8. Don’t Get Around Much Any More/Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me/Mood indigo/I’m Beginning to See the Light/Sophisticated Lady/ I’ve Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good/Caravan/Just Squeeze Me/It Don’t Mean a Thing/Satin Doll/Solitude/I Let a Song Go out of My Heart

9. The Hawk Talks

 

Duke Ellington - Piano

Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Shorty Baker – Trumpets

Ray Nance – Trumpet, vocals

Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Russell Procope, Jimmy Hamilton, Harry Carney – Reeds

Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman, John Sanders – Trombones

Jimmy Woode - Bass

Sam Woodyard – Drums

Ozzie Bailey - Vocals

 

Even after Duke Ellington died, recordings by his band have continued to appear, to the delight of his fans. This recording from 1958 is one such: a double CD capturing an exciting concert with acceptable sound quality. Some listeners may complain that the programme includes several reruns of Duke’s “greatest hits”, but these remind us what a superb songwriter he was, and the royalties from such performances no doubt helped Ellington to keep his expensive ensemble alive. And he was not above giving familiar tunes new life, as he does with the second version of Take the “A” Train, which he lets Ray Nance perform in Ray’s typically eccentric manner.

There is an old joke about the announcer who said that the Ellington Orchestra would play a tune called “Take a Train”. This is almost duplicated by the sleeve listing here of a tune called “Take the Train”. This slip-up is unfortunately typical of the careless presentation of the album, where the first track on the second CD is not listed, there is no personnel listing, and the sleeve-note is poorly edited.

But the music is fine. Even the old favourites are given fresh clothes to make them sound like new. This is typified by the Ray Nance vocal version of Take the A” Train, which segues into a showcase solo from Paul Gonsalves which doubles the tempo halfway through. And Harlem Airshaft is renewed as a feature for Clark Terry.

Jimmy Hamilton is tender in Tenderly, mostly backed only by the rhythm section, as the Duke prods him with intriguing chords. Johnny Hodges exhibits his genius in Jeep’s Blues and On the Sunny Side of the Street.

Ellington’s shouts of approval suggest that he was enjoying himself – and you will too.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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