king ubu

*** The Duke Ellington Corner ***

338 posts in this topic

I love Ellington's piano playing more than the band material.

MG

The piano playing is quite wonderful. A great deal is made of Stan Tracey's Monk influence but listening to lots of Elington over the past week I can really hear his (frequently acknowledged) debt to Ellington as well. Nice and percussive.

I'm not (yet) that familiar with Stan Tracey - but more great Ellington piano playing can be heard on the Ellington/Hodges "Back to Back" album (Verve, reissued on CD in the Verve Masters Edition, now I think in one of the new Universal series, Originals, Classics, whatever). The "Side By Side" isn't bad either... (but Ellington is only on half of it - same session I think as "Back to Back", with another wonderful session to fill up the album)

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Ordered this earlier on your rec:

515rJ63Xu3L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-dp-500-arrow,TopRight,45,-64_OU01_AA240_SH20_.jpg

Also, couldn't resist -- this one's on the way as of this morning:

410WcuR14EL._AA240_.jpg

This morning I'm listening to "The Duke Ellington Small Bands: The Intimacy of the Blues.

You'll really enjoy the Hasse. I'm about ready to read it again!

There's some good Ellington at e-music - you have to wade through oceans of cheapo compilations to find it but it's there.

There are four double CD recordings of the Carnegie Hall concerts from the mid-40s, originally on Prestige. The sound is typical of live recordings from those times but I find them all perfectly listenable. These were big 'events' so I suspect they are not typical of live dates - lots of suite premieres including 'Black, Brown and Beige'. Very enjoyable. (Just seen that King Ubu has also recommended these while I was typing! Sorry to tempt you further, Papsrus!!!!)

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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MG, the Ellington Meets Hawkins is magnificient! Definitely one of the most marvellous small group sessions ever made by the Duke, and up there with the best Hawkins albums... that Limbo Jazz and the Riccitic or whatever it's called, these two alone are woth the prize of admission for me! (One of them was just a rehearsal take, you can hear some chatter etc, added to the CD reissue)

Glad to know this one is highly thought of. I had noticed it, but I find myself a little wary sometimes of these "Ellington Meets ...." sessions. As I understand it, they were often somewhat like arranged marriages? ... Although, it sounds like Ellington practically lived in the studio and on the road, so it's likely he was comfortable in these situations. But for instance I thought that the Coltrane-Ellington disc, which while pleasant enough, fell somewhat short of at least what I'd anticipated.

In any case, glad to know this Hawkins session is a good one.

There are four double CD recordings of the Carnegie Hall concerts from the mid-40s, originally on Prestige. The sound is typical of live recordings from those times but I find them all perfectly listenable. These were big 'events' so I suspect they are not typical of live dates - lots of suite premieres including 'Black, Brown and Beige'. Very enjoyable. (Just seen that King Ubu has also recommended these while I was typing! Sorry to tempt you further, Papsrus!!!!)

Tempt away. It's likely to be a long and varied journey.

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I have a mono lp of Cosmic Scene, and the Mosaic Single. Very nice little session indeed!

Yesterday I got the Jazz Beat version of "A Drum is A Woman" from Worlds Records. Well, aside from the obvious problems of provenance of which I'm well aware, this is a beautiful digipak with the best cover image, glossy as an Impulse reissue, I've seen on cd, and sound that I think is a tad better than the CBS cd from France. (Plus one extra track). Until Columbia and/or Mosaic see fit to grace us with an official release this is one worth having.

A friend of mine thinks the music on this is silly, but I really like it more and more.

Thanks Lon! From the comments here, "Cosmic" sounds like a winner. "Drum" I'm completely in the dark on, other than the controversial title.

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I love Ellington's piano playing more than the band material.

MG

The piano playing is quite wonderful. A great deal is made of Stan Tracey's Monk influence but listening to lots of Elington over the past week I can really hear his (frequently acknowledged) debt to Ellington as well. Nice and percussive.

Well, Monk owed Duke big debts, too.

MG

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Well, the first disc of 'The Duke Box' (radio broadcasts) sounds stunning, given how far back these recordings go. Better than some of the studio recordings (or at least the transfers that have got to us). I even like the commentary, as corny as it is!

Here's another magnificent Ellington set, Papsrus, that I've got on now as I'm cooking:

elladuke.jpg

Ella with the Ellington orchestra (and smaller units mainly build round Oscar P) in 1957 - 2 discs + a third of bits and bobs. You get Ella, you get Ellington plus lots of full solos from the likes of Webster. Ivy Anderson is the Ellington singer I like best but this set is magical. Along with the Rodgers and Hart, my favourite of her songbook records.

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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Well, the first disc of 'The Duke Box' (radio broadcasts) sounds stunning, given how far back these recordings go. Better than some of the studio recordings (or at least the transfers that have got to us). I even like the commentary, as corny as it is!

Here's another magnificent Ellington set, Papsrus, that I've got on now as I'm cooking:

elladuke.jpg

Ella with the Ellington orchestra (and smaller units mainly build round Oscar P) in 1957 - 2 discs + a third of bits and bobs. You get Ella, you get Ellington plus lots of full solos from the likes of Webster. Ivy Anderson is the Ellington singer I like best but this set is magical. Along with the Rodgers and Hart, my favourite of her songbook records.

I will look for that one. Thanks Bev. Sadly, none of the Ellington I've been ordering recently has arrived yet. Nor the Basie Complete Decca.

I trust by next week I'll be chin deep in it.

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Well, the first disc of 'The Duke Box' (radio broadcasts) sounds stunning, given how far back these recordings go. Better than some of the studio recordings (or at least the transfers that have got to us). I even like the commentary, as corny as it is!

Bev my man :) if you like the sound and the announcements on these, and you haven't already tried them, you should check out the Duke Ellington Treasury Series on Storyville. Fantastic in sound and material. Fascinating announcements/"commercial" spots at times.

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I have a mono lp of Cosmic Scene, and the Mosaic Single. Very nice little session indeed!

Yesterday I got the Jazz Beat version of "A Drum is A Woman" from Worlds Records. Well, aside from the obvious problems of provenance of which I'm well aware, this is a beautiful digipak with the best cover image, glossy as an Impulse reissue, I've seen on cd, and sound that I think is a tad better than the CBS cd from France. (Plus one extra track). Until Columbia and/or Mosaic see fit to grace us with an official release this is one worth having.

A friend of mine thinks the music on this is silly, but I really like it more and more.

Thanks Lon! From the comments here, "Cosmic" sounds like a winner.

Another :tup for "Cosmic Scene".

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Well, the first disc of 'The Duke Box' (radio broadcasts) sounds stunning, given how far back these recordings go. Better than some of the studio recordings (or at least the transfers that have got to us). I even like the commentary, as corny as it is!

Bev my man :) if you like the sound and the announcements on these, and you haven't already tried them, you should check out the Duke Ellington Treasury Series on Storyville. Fantastic in sound and material. Fascinating announcements/"commercial" spots at times.

Thanks, Lon.

I've got those discs and the Private Collection ones from later on the edge of my radar. Too much else of Ellington to absorb for the moment - but I know I'll be wanting fresh Ellington to hear in the years to come, so those recordings will fit the bill beautifully.

Knowing your expertise in this area, what's your recommendation for the best way to collect the mid-late 30s period between the RCA recordings? I have a couple of Classics discs - I notice a few of the others are MIA and fetching silly prices.

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Well. . . the good news is that there is pretty much just the Columbia sides as far as that time frame goes.

If you can grab the two volumes of the Small Groups and if you can find the two cd set "Braggin' in Brass" that Columbia put out (it probably is out of print but may not be too hard to find) you have all but about a disc's worth. I've had the material for so long that I haven't been researching ways to get it NOW, but have an idea . . . . The Mosaic small group set is a really good way to get all the small group material if you can go that route.

A method that seems to mirror the Classics route are Naxos cds. It seems that their Vol. 6 in the Ellington series has quite a bit if not all of the missing in action titles not included on the Columbia cds. . . .

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Being a somewhat impatient sort, and not willing to waste a Sunday without some new Ellington to listen to while waiting for the postman to arrive on Monday, I shuffled off to my neighborhood Barnes and Noble and plucked these two titles from among the heavy dose of "best of" compilations on the shelves.

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51EYZETDVCL._AA240_.jpg

Starting things off with "Black, Brown and Beige." The very good liner notes talk about Ellington being foremost an "observer of life," able to communicate even a story like this one with both humor and sadness. From the notes: "When the Negro got shipped over here from Africa, he thought he was going to be eaten," he explained. "Think how relieved he must have been when he found out all he had to do was work."

-- sad, yet conveyed with humor. He must have been something. ...

The notes here provide a nice shorthand guide to each of the six parts. Beautiful!

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Lon,

Thanks for the info. I have the Mosaic winging its way to me as I type. In fact I can predict my week based on it. DHL will try to deliver it, I will be out, they will leave me a card. I will ring them to try to collect - no-one will answer the phone. I will drive to their nearest depot - Sheffield, Rotherham, Madrid - and, with any luck, take delivery.

I have a feeling it'll be a case of piecing the other Columbia stuff together from the sources you mention. Was there an LP survey at one stage of the Columbias? I seem to recall something along the line of the Bessie Smith and Billie Hoiliday twofers but I could be going nuts.

Papsrus,

Ellington Uptown is great. I'm not so keen on the Mahalia Jackson B,B & B - purely because I'm so infatuated with the early 40s recordings. But I know it has lots of fans.

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^ Enjoyed BB&B very much. The alternate takes were fun, with studio banter and such. Very nice.

"Uptown" is now kicking off with a BANG! --- Skin Deep. I'm awake! ... Surprisingly clear sound (and the volume is up pretty high at the moment).

Two-for-two today, I'd say. .... Is there such thing as a bad Ellington album?

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Played the first disc of the Fargo pair on 'The Duke Box' earlier on - it really does give you a different take on the music. There's a great "Ko Ko" and "Harlem Air-Shaft" there.

Just playing this, one you'll want soon, Papsrus:

41KDCWRD5RL._AA240_.jpg

Recorded just after Billy Strayhorn's death, it aches with emotion. Some of my favourite Johnny Hodges. There's a version of 'Lotus Blossom' that was taped after the main recordings that will break your heart.

Along with 'Far East Suite', my favourite late Ellington.

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Is there such thing as a bad Ellington album?

Duke Ellington plays the Britney Spears song book?

MG

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Is there such thing as a bad Ellington album?

Duke Ellington plays the Britney Spears song book?

MG

Yep. That might be a train wreck. OTOH, if anyone could do it .....

"Swingin' With Brit -- The Not So Sweet Suite"

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Bev, yes, there were LP reissues, including a really nice one on Smithsonian, and Columbia ones produced (I think) by Stanley Dance, but I haven't seen or heard these in a long time and I'm not sure that they included everything. . . .

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I've got those discs and the Private Collection ones from later on the edge of my radar. Too much else of Ellington to absorb for the moment - but I know I'll be wanting fresh Ellington to hear in the years to come, so those recordings will fit the bill beautifully.

Don't wait too long with the Private Collection, they are OOP and vanishing as I type this! (Took me loooong to find Volume 8! And that was three years ago or so...)

Knowing your expertise in this area, what's your recommendation for the best way to collect the mid-late 30s period between the RCA recordings? I have a couple of Classics discs - I notice a few of the others are MIA and fetching silly prices.

Well. . . the good news is that there is pretty much just the Columbia sides as far as that time frame goes.

If you can grab the two volumes of the Small Groups and if you can find the two cd set "Braggin' in Brass" that Columbia put out (it probably is out of print but may not be too hard to find) you have all but about a disc's worth. I've had the material for so long that I haven't been researching ways to get it NOW, but have an idea . . . . The Mosaic small group set is a really good way to get all the small group material if you can go that route.

A method that seems to mirror the Classics route are Naxos cds. It seems that their Vol. 6 in the Ellington series has quite a bit if not all of the missing in action titles not included on the Columbia cds. . . .

I was asking myself that very same question... how to fill the gap between the last of the RCA dates from the big box (and the Brunswicks from the 3CD GRP set) and the next bunch of Victor sessions. I haven't yet gotten the Mosaic (I will do so, but not right now) but I did some researching (using mostly the great Duke Ellington Panorama site) and ended up buying as many of the Classics as I could. Abeillemusique.com still has a sale (Ellington is here and here), where I was lucky enough to snatch up Vol. 3 of the 6CD boxes (repacked single-CDs with an additional booklet), covering 1933-1938. I also got 1932-33 and 1933 (the box then covers 1933-1935 to the first of the 1938 discs), and then that's where things get more difficult...Abeille only lists 1938-39 and 1939 Vol. 2, with 1939-1940 still listed but out of stock, while several other volumes are gone for good. My listening brought me up to the fifth disc of the box by now. From the fourth to the sixth disc of the box, more than half of the material is by small bands, hence covered by the Mosaic box. Still a 2CD set (that Braggin' Lon mentions - never saw it, didn't even know it existed...) can never cover all of the big band material, I think!

The music is marvellous, by the way, all of it, and it keeps getting better and better, as the 30s proceed... a kind soul will help me cover the OOP Classics later, for now I still hope some of those Amazon Marketplace orders to come through... some of the OOP discs fetch crazy prizes, however, whcih I'm unwilling to pay.

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It is rather strange that more has not been done about the Columbia era.

I glanced in a marvellous coffee table book I bought in 1978 called 'The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Jazz' by Brian Case and Stan Britt (my Baedeker to jazz in the 70s along with Joachim Berendt's book...great colour photos of sleeves that made them so desirable) and they mention a 6 LP CBS France series covering this era and a couple of discs (doesn't say if they are singles, doubles or what) on a Swedish label called Tax.

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Duke fan here :cool:

I have been adding to my Duke collection too lately. Let me recommend too the Private Collection, its just loads and loads of great stuff. I think the volumes that are OOP are 4, 6 and 8, IIRC, so you may want to start looking for those sooner rather than later.

I dont think Duke made a bad album, at least I havent heard it.

This week's favorite: JAZZ PARTY. hard to find these days, but really, really good.

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Tempting at it is, I think I'll hang fire on the Private Collection - too much to absorb at present and I like to pace things. My main fear is that I'll get half the series and the rest will vanish. This happened with RCA Fats Waller series a few years ago.

I'm hoping that some time in the next ten years or so the behemoth record companies will realise that it might just be worthwhile to transfer their jewels into downloads - either themselves or via licensing - and things might escape that way. I'm not counting on it, though! Some of the smaller classical companies are much quicker about this.

[As predicted the DHL card was waiting for me this evening...have booked to fly to Helsinki this weekend to pick it up from their depot].

Edited by Bev Stapleton

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[As predicted the DHL card was waiting for me this evening...have booked to fly to Helsinki this weekend to pick it up from their depot].

So that's nice.

MG

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It is rather strange that more has not been done about the Columbia era.

I glanced in a marvellous coffee table book I bought in 1978 called 'The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Jazz' by Brian Case and Stan Britt (my Baedeker to jazz in the 70s along with Joachim Berendt's book...great colour photos of sleeves that made them so desirable) and they mention a 6 LP CBS France series covering this era and a couple of discs (doesn't say if they are singles, doubles or what) on a Swedish label called Tax.

You get loads of great info about sessions and releases here:

http://www.depanorama.net/

CoCo The Complete Duke Ellington 1947-1952 4 CBS 462985-6-7-8 2 8/47-12/52

plus these for 1956-1962 material:

56/62v1 duke 56/62 vol 1 2 LP CBS 88653 1956-1962

56/62v2 duke 56/62 vol 2 2 LP CBS 88654 1956-1962

56/62v3 duke 56/62 vol 3 1 LP CBS 26306 1956-1962

I'd love to get all that on CD... in a perfect world, there'd be - in addition to the Mosaic 36-40 Small Group Set - a 32-40 big band set, a 47-52 big band set, and a 53-62 "supplementary" set (I assume that's what the above five LPs were, actually - stuff that didn't end up on any of the official albums that were released back then). I'll dream on... maybe someone should send a set of clean LPs to Andorra...

Here's the entry for the Private Collection: http://www.depanorama.net/cds/pc.htm

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