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Duke Ellington Orchestra


CJ Shearn
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what a great show. Paul Mercer Ellington does a fine job of directing trhe band. As far as ghost bands go, this show definitely beat the Basie show that I saw a number of years ago when Grover Mitchell had the baton. Anyway, there were a number of highlights last night including a tune from the Far East Suite (my Ellington collection is deficient, I may have to grab some of those new reissues soon) with a smoking solo by a tenor player named Shelley Carroll. Carroll is a name to look out for, he has an impressive sound and is also a fine vocalist. He did nice vocal turns on "A Train", "All of Me", and an amusing nod to Joe Williams on "Jeep's Blues", which got really dirty. Other highlights were Charlie Yobung, III features on "Prelude to a Kiss", and a Mercer Ellington composition entitled "The Boss" with atrombone battle, one of the bone players quoted "Pass the Peas" during a chorus, which I thought was pretty funny. Anyway, since I'm part of the Harpur Jazz Project, the oeganization who helped put the concert together, I was able to get in for nothing, which was a bonus :-d signed up for a comp ticket.

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I saw the Ellington Orchestra about five years ago and it was a great show. . .though I thought his grandson was a bit too Cab Callowayish . . . I would have prefered him to act differently but it's no business of mine!

The sound was amazing and the charts they played were fantastic! I'd see them again if they came to town, indeed.

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Hey, Shelley's a homeboy - raised in Houston, a protege of Don Wilkerson & Arnett Cobb, and currently gigging around the DFW Metroplex (and elsewhere, obviously!) living right here in Plano, Tx, USA. His Leaning House CD is still in stock at www.cybermusicsurpluss.com HERE, and is highly recommended. A really nice cat, too, full of fun and plenty of spirit. Buy the CD and have a party!

Charlie Young was a classmate of mine at NTSU, and a casual but good friend as well. We arrived the same year, 1974. He was a really well developed player at the age of 18, but the growth he underwent and maturity he developed in the time he was there was nothing short of amazing and was extremely inspiring to watch. He's the kind of guy you're proud to say you went to school with and hung out with, because he went through all kinds of crap, personal, professional, and social, both within the school and outside it, and came out on top every time. Definitely one of my few "heroes" from my time there.

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