Duke Ellington

Love Songs

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At some point in their lifetime, everyone should treat themselves to a listen of Duke Ellington's "Satin Doll." If there is ever to be a true understanding of great jazz, exposure to one of the genre's original masters is a must, and "Satin Doll" provides an ideal glimpse at the popular big band-style of music that defined the early to mid-1900s. This timeless classic can be found on the 2001 release Love Songs, an ongoing series of CD collections of the same name on Columbia Legacy Records. (Other collections in the Love Songs series for 2001 include sets from Frank Sinatra, Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, and the Isley Brothers on Epic Legacy.) Fans of even the most contemporary, electrified styles are sure to appreciate the smooth horn and wind arrangements, backed by cool rhythm sections that recall the days of zoot suits, swinging pocket watches, and slicked-back hair. Vocalists fortunate enough to collaborate with the Duke Ellington Orchestra were truly given a rare opportunity to perform with a legend. Rosemary Clooney absolutely shines on "I Got It Bad," and it's been said that this song was among the maestro's favorite career moments. Love Songs also features recordings from the celebrated pairing of the Duke Ellington and Count Basie orchestras. "Corner Pocket," "The Star-Crossed Lovers," and "To You" are sounds to behold and make you wonder why today's musical heavy-hitters don't collaborate in a similar fashion. There is one displacement on Love Songs; the album could have done without "Creole Love Call." This amalgam of opera-style singing, courtesy of Kay Davis, with jazz is an odd inclusion to this otherwise stylish set.

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