Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

1939-1940

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AllMusic Review by

This CD has Duke Ellington's final recordings for the Columbia and Vocalion labels before switching over to Victor and beginning what many consider to be his greatest period on record. During this period, Ben Webster joined the band on tenor, taking his first solo on "Solitude." The band was up to ten major soloists and, whether heard as the full orchestra or in small groups led by altoist Johnny Hodges, clarinetist Barney Bigard, or trumpeter Cootie Williams, the music was generally very rewarding. High points of this intriguing transitional disc include an Ellington piano solo on "Blues," "Lost in Two Flats," and several remakes (including "Solitude," "Mood Indigo," and "Sophisticated Lady"). In addition, a pair of unprecedented bass-piano duets ("Blues" and "Plucked Again") for the first time really show off the solo abilities of bassist Jimmy Blanton.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:46
2 2:32
3 2:28
4 2:56
5 2:58
6 2:53
7 2:36
8 2:55
9 2:58
10 3:06
11 3:04
12 2:39
13 2:47
14 2:53
15 3:00
16 2:31
17 2:35
18 2:44
19 2:43
20 2:53
21 2:40
22 3:00
blue highlight denotes track pick