Take the "A" Train: The Best of Duke Ellington

Canadian Brass

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Take the "A" Train: The Best of Duke Ellington Review

by AllMusic

If you know anything about the Canadian Brass you know that the group is capable of just about anything musically. What the group has done here is expertly interpret the music of the most legendary composer of American jazz, the great Duke Ellington, for the brass quintet medium with nary a note sounding out of place. Ellington classics like "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Sophisticated Ladies," and "Cottontail" are richly arranged by arranger Luther Henderson and ring gallantly with the bell tones of refined brass. The sound of the group is so complete that the listener never misses the familiar big-band setting in which Ellington's tunes are traditionally performed. Also included are three variations on Billy Strayhorn's signature "Lush Life," the centerpiece of the set. Finally, the disc would not be complete without the resounding swing of "Take the 'A' Train," performed here with all the pageantry that this music so richly deserves. Ellington enthusiasts and music fans in general will find this disc to be as enjoyable time and again, just like the Duke himself.

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