Duke Ellington

The Private Collection, Vol. 10: Studio Sessions, New York & Chicago, 1965, 1966 & 1971

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The last entry in a ten-volume set of mostly unreleased studio and live recordings from Duke Ellington's personal collection, Private Collection, Vol. 10 primarily consists of a 1965 re-recording of Ellington's first major extended work, 1943's "Black, Brown, and Beige." (The sixth part of that nine-part tone poem, "The Blues," is actually a 1971 recording featuring Tony Watkins on vocals; this is one of the very few times this song was sung by a man.) Removing a couple of sections from the original score -- the wartime march that ended the 1943 version is gone, and the "Beige" section is drastically truncated -- Ellington retains all of the tone poem's vivid, near-symphonic splendor. The rest of the disc consists of a pair of 1966 recordings: a 13-minute take on '50s oft-recorded "Harlem," with some dazzling rhythmic shifts highlighting the orchestra's uncanny musical synchronicity, and "Ad Lib on Nippon," a section of 1963's "The Far East Suite" that doesn't actually have that much of a Japanese character but does feature some sterling bop-like piano-bass jousting by Ellington and John Lamb, followed by an excellent, gently swinging clarinet solo by Jimmy Hamilton.

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