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Duke Ellington

Almost constantly on the road following his comeback in Newport in 1956, his career staging posts were largely marked by the studio recordings. He released around 35 albums between 1960 and 1967 alone, including adaptations of classical works, the “Far East Suite” and the “Sacred Concerts”. 1967 was a year of triumphs: the outstanding trumpeter Cootie Williams, unbelievable in “The Shepherd” and “Tutti for Cootie”, was back on board; but then tragedy struck again a few weeks after the Stuttgart concert with the death of Duke’s alter ego Billy Strayhorn.

Ellington considered two topics to be off-limits: illness and death. It was for this reason he refused to make a will to the last, fearful of tempting fate and provoking his own demise. He was able to maintain his orchestra (“the most important thing in my life”) with the millions he earned from Tempo, his music publishing company – always conscious of the need to surround himself with individualists; some players stayed with him for decades.

Throwing caution to the wind and refusing to rely solely on time-served hits, Duke and his 14 musicians launch themselves into the new adventure. “­Johnny Come Lately” breaks the ice, “Swamp Goo” featuring clarinettist ­Russell Procope has the magical “Jungle Sound”, Paul Gonsalves’ tenor sax dances though “Knob Hill”, Cat Anderson’s trumpet hit the stratosphere and Harry Carney’s baritone horn gives a close-up account of “A Chromatic Love Affair”.

Catalogue No.: 101726

1Take The "A" Train
2 Johnny Come Lately
3Swamp Goo
4Knob Hill
6La Plus Belle Africaine
7Rue Bleue
8A Chromatic Love Affair
10The Shepherd
11Tutti For Cootie
12Freakish Lights

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