Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

1939 [Classics]

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AllMusic Review by

The 1939 Duke Ellington Orchestra was a mighty force, with eight major soloists and a genius as their leader. Billy Strayhorn first worked with Ellington during this period and on this CD he contributes "Something to Live For" (which is surprisingly sung by Jean Eldridge rather than the band's regular vocalist, Ivie Anderson). This disc has ten selections from the full orchestra, eight from small groups led by altoist Johnny Hodges, two from clarinetist Barney Bigard's combo, and two vocal features for the Quintones. Highlights include "Rent Party Blues," "Portrait of the Lion" (Ellington's tribute to his idol, Willie "The Lion" Smith), a remake of "Cotton Club Stomp," and "Serenade to Sweden."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:55
2 2:41
3 2:33
4 2:41
5 2:38
6 2:58
7 2:36
8 2:25
9 2:51
10 2:40
11 2:29
12 2:35
13 3:14
14 2:38
15 2:52
16 2:40
17 3:28
18 3:20
19 2:45
20 2:39
21 2:56
22 2:42
blue highlight denotes track pick