Duke Ellington

In the Uncommon Market

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"In the Uncommon Market," of course, refers to Europe, where Norman Granz caught the Ellington band numerous times with his tape machines in the 1960s. But it could also refer to the unusual repertoire featured on this collection, with only one standard, "In a Sentimental Mood," in a shelfful of out of the way Ellingtonia. These tracks, of indeterminate date, come from Ellington band concerts in Stockholm, Sweden, and Pastacitta, Italy, supplemented by some rare trio selections recorded in a museum in St. Paul-de-Vence, France, for a short film on Duke and the painter Joan Miró. The famous reed players are out in full cry; clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton thrives over the cool vamp of "Silk Lace," Johnny Hodges croons and sighs as only Johnny Hodges could in the lovely Shakespearian ballad "Star-Crossed Lovers," and Paul Gonsalves applies his oddly, singularly diffident tone to "E.S.P." A fascinating Afro-Cuban tango (to coin a hybrid), "Guitar Amour," puts a cap on the band portion of the disc, with Ray Nance playing the violin solos. Then the Ellington trio steps in with two takes of "The Shepherd," where the Duke's vocal obbligato can be overheard and the performances are so slyly swinging that you don't mind hearing it twice. And as Ellington unwinds and relaxes on the third and last trio swinger, "Kinda Dukish," you kinda wish that Granz had recorded an entire album of them.

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