Duke Ellington

Meadowbrook to Manhattan

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This budget CD compilation issued by Black Label collects airchecks from several concerts performed in 1952 by Duke Ellington. Hardly a typical live release, it features obscure compositions like "Felanges," "Ting-A-Ling," and "W.C." (the latter in its only known performance). Ellington revisits older works like the pop song "Margie" as well as his own "Black Beauty" and "The Jeep Is Jumpin'." Juan Tizol's exotic valve trombone is showcased in his rhumba "Moonlight Fiesta." The leader's stride piano stands out in "Black Beauty," though clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton's riffs are barely audible. The sound quality is erratic, with some extraneous noise (possibly from disc transcriptions) and soloists occasionally drowned out by the band. The biggest headache is a mastering error that caused all 13 songs to be lumped together as one continuous track. Obviously, this release is of greater interest to obsessive collectors of Duke Ellington than the average jazz fan.

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