Duke Ellington

Th. Champs Élysées, 1965, Pt. 1

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The selections on this live CD were taken from the second of two concerts performed by Duke Ellington at the Theatre des Champs Élysées on January 30, 1965, except for "Happy Go Lucky Local," which came from the evening before. With Ellington's band very much in its prime, marked by the return of Ray Nance (for his last extended tour with Ellington aside from some guest appearances over the next few years) and the presence of Cootie Wiliams, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, and Harry Carney, the selections include "Ad Lib on Nippon" (which features the leader's underrated piano playing extensively in a trio setting) plus potent features for Williams ("Afrobossa"), Gonsalves ("The Opener"), and a condensed suite of three themes from Black, Brown and Beige. Originally broadcast by Europe1, this concert is a good example of Duke Ellington at the height of his powers, entering into what would be the final decade of his long career.

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