Duke Ellington

Elegant Mister Ellington

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This bootleg record includes excerpts of Duke Ellington's October 4, 1959, concert at the Sportpalast in Berlin. The songs are out of recording sequence, causing quick fade-outs between most numbers and, in one case, singer Lil Greenwood's performance of the mediocre "Walkin' and Singin' the Blues" is actually taken from a long medley! Even though the solos by all parties are consistently good, the ensembles are often a bit ragged. Ellington can barely be heard introducing the soloists during "Jam With Sam" (part of his routine during this song), and Ray Nance's vocal is not always audible in an otherwise enjoyable rendition of "Basin Street Blues," with an obvious nod to Louis Armstrong's well-known version. Because there are a number of better live renditions of almost all of the songs heard on this LP, only Ellington completists will likely make much effort to find it.

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