Duke Ellington

Serenade to Sweden

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Numerous previously unreleased recordings by Duke Ellington were issued in the years immediately following his death in 1974. This Black Lion LP, one of five titles issued in Great Britain, contains a sampling of live and studio performances taped between 1958 and 1962. Ray Nance is the most prominent soloist, heard on trumpet in "Take the 'A' Train," "Black and Tan Fantasy" (which features Ellington and Billy Strayhorn on duo pianos), and "Boo-Dah." Nance's swinging violin alternates with Cootie Williams, Paul Gonsalves, Buster Cooper, and Jimmy Hamilton in a rousing "C-Jam Blues." Of particular interest is a medley of two related tunes, "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" (which was derived from the earlier title and named "Never No Lament" before lyrics were added). It is odd that this cross-section of material doesn't feature any solos by Johnny Hodges, but it is still worth acquiring by Ellington aficionados.