Duke Ellington

Private Collection, Vol. 2 [J-Bird]

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This puzzling second volume of supposedly unreleased recordings of Duke Ellington from the family archives has some of the same problems as the earlier volume on J-Bird, although the sound from the transcription sources is good. No attempts have been made to list the musicians, dates, or the venues of these live performances, although most all of them likely date from 1946 or 1947. Most of the tracks almost surely come from the November 1946 Carnegie Hall concert or the earlier performance at Chicago's Civic Opera House (which was released by Musicmasters in 1994, though the label has since folded). What is particularly infuriating is the careless labeling of the material. It is painfully obvious that the two tracks listed as "Unknown Recording with Blues Guitarist" are actually a pair of live guest spots featuring the legendary Django Reinhardt on electric guitar, both of which sound identical to the Chicago recordings. The cut listed as "Red Ride Red" is in reality "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" (and even the incorrect title was wrong -- the song the producers were trying to name this "Ride, Red, Ride"). The track shown as "Things Ain't What They Seem to Be," a title not even listed in Ellington's discography, is actually Ellington taking a rare piano solo titled "There Was Nobody Looking." "Happy-Go-Lucky Local" is listed inexplicably as "Hiawatha." Mary Lou Williams' arrangement of "Blue Skies" isn't listed under its proper title of "Trumpets No End." It is hard to believe that so little care can be taken in putting out a CD; there is little incentive for even the most obsessive Ellington fan to acquire this shabby production.

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