Duke Ellington

Cornell University: Second Set

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This is a rather disappointing second CD from a previously unreleased 1948 Duke Ellington concert that was put out in 1996. Although most of the material is fresh, several of the songs are taken much too fast (particularly the overarranged "Tootin' Through the Roof," which blows its potential), a few Al Hibbler vocals are forgettable except for their typical weirdness, and a hits medley has no real surprises. Best are altoist Johnny Hodges' feature on Billy Strayhorn's "Brown Betty" and a satirical Ray Nance violin solo on "Humoresque," but overall, this is one of Duke's lesser sets.

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