Duke Ellington

The Works of Duke, Vol. 7

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A few dozen discs were released in the French RCA series that was efficiently titled The Works of Duke. Both the boxes and individual editions are sought after to the point where a lucky owner might be able to trade a copy for a collector's car, and not a junker. In some ways this volume is the Rolls Royce of the bunch, as it catches a top-notch Ellington small-band line-up recording in a period of intense creativity and enthusiasm. And the sessions also were among the earliest done with jazz artists in what was a new recording form, the LP. The band boss and the A&R guys got their heads together to come up with ways of creating more extended performances, and in this case devised medleys of Elllington material such as "Mood Indigo" and "Black and Tan Fantasy." It comes out almost like an Ellington concert, but done in the studio. The recording equipment and techniques from this era are also suited perfectly to the sound of the band at that time. Tempos are of the shot out of a gun variety. This is a really great album.

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