Claude Bolling

Bolling Plays Ellington, Vol. 1

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Claude Bolling leads his big band through ten Duke Ellington compositions (mostly from the 1930s and '40s), plus Mercer Ellington's "Blue Serge," on this mid-'80s release. Although Bolling's orchestra does closely emulate Duke's in the ensembles (many of the arrangements are close adaptations of Ellington's recordings), one does miss the distinctive soloists. Vaneese Thomas takes a pair of vocals (on "Sophisticated Lady" and "It Don't Mean a Thing"), and the French musicians do their best, but why get this release when so many Duke Ellington records are currently available?

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