Duke Ellington

Live in Paris (1959)

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Ellington's return to favor following his appearance at Newport in 1956, coupled with his renewed heavy touring schedule, led to a veritable explosion of live shows by the jazz legend for the final 30 years of his life. This show is one of many from this era, though it was a uniquely virtuoso performance from start to finish. The single-CD supplants an old double-LP live album, and has been treated with CEDAR audio restoration, with a result that's a bit bass-heavy but otherwise is just a little short of dazzling. What's not short of dazzling are the performances of Jimmy Hamilton, Clark Terry, and Paul Gonsalves on "Newport Up," the first of the newer numbers featured, which surge with authority and dexterity. This show coincided with the release of Such Sweet Thunder, and the band performs "Sonet in Search of Amour," by Ellington and Strayhorn, from that work. "El Gato" from the Newport performance, is also featured as a showcase for Clark Terry and Ray Nance. And "All of Me" is a tour de force for Johnny Hodges on alto sax. There are also two medleys that give new approaches to "Black and Tan Fantasy," "Creole Love Call," "The Mooche," "In a Sentimental Mood," "Satin Doll," and other key parts of the earlier Ellington repertory. Superior in every way to the 1959 Newport live release.