Duke Ellington

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also find, if you can, Ralph Gleason's long tribute/obit from Rolling Stone. the classic quote, from memory, on junkie musicians: "I never did understand that. I'm a cunt man myself."

M Matos (M Matos), Thursday, 5 June 2003 17:45 (12 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
I'm a little surprised by the high regard in which the Far East Suite is commonly held. I could only get myself to listen to it a couple times. Most of the time when I don't like a remotely canonical jazz recording, I can still sort of understand why it would be considered good. Kind of Blue and Point of Departure, for instance, both turn me off in large part because of my emotional reaction to them, and something about the tone colors used (more in the second case). But the Far East Suite sounded really kind of third rate to me. I'm sorry now that I didn't hang on to my library copy long enough to listen a few times, so I could say more now. Part of it may simply be that because of my heavy Arabic music listening, I am critical of the particular way Arabic elements are used here. (I know it says far east, but according to what I've read, it actually has more to do with Arabic music than with Indian. That's also what I hear.) Also the mixture of certain old school big band sounds, sounds that don't necessarily have to be use just because one is working with a big band, undermines the project for me.

Al Andalous (Al Andalous), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 13:20 (12 years ago) Permalink

The Blanton-Webster Years; I've been advised by people who know to avoid the new repackage of the same material in a cardboard case: "they fucked up the remaster" was his objection

I don't know - I have this and the remaster sounds fine to me, as good as you could expect for this period. I'm pretty sure that this is the same remaster that's in the Centennial edition.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 14:49 (12 years ago) Permalink

(The packaging on the other hand leaves something to be desired. The little cardboard sleeves don't really hold the CDs in place. I wish they'd just used standard jewel cases.)

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 5 August 2003 14:55 (12 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...
I borrowed Money Jungle from the library, and I like it okay. I like "Caravan" a lot, or at least the begin. And I like "Money Jungle." It's still probably not something I would buy, but I don't think it's an album that needs any apologies.

Rockist_Scientist (rockist_scientist), Tuesday, 14 September 2004 21:22 (11 years ago) Permalink

Somehow, all of my dad's old 45s were stolen except the ones I borrowed, and fortunately, one of those was "The Mooch." It's still my favorite Duke Ellington song, a world within a song, really...

Pete Scholtes, Wednesday, 15 September 2004 03:55 (11 years ago) Permalink

Harlem Air Shaft or Ko Ko would be my faves, both on the Blanton-Webster Band comp

mentalist (mentalist), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 04:35 (11 years ago) Permalink

"jump for joy" is probably the most astonishingly perfect record i know. everything is in place; it's constantly infectious and exciting; it sounds so fresh; and the lyrics are a total hoot. superlatives actually demean this record, so i'll stop.

"chocolate shake" is v. close.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 06:20 (11 years ago) Permalink

the way "jump for joy" ends is... oh my lord.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 06:21 (11 years ago) Permalink

anyway, for those of you scared of jazz, these are pop records.

amateur!!!st (amateurist), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 06:22 (11 years ago) Permalink

Has anyone heard Sir Duke, performances of his pieces by Bill Ware (vibes) and Marc Ribot (gtr)? I think it's really beautiful but I haven't heard that much 'real' DE.

sundar subramanian (sundar), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 06:26 (11 years ago) Permalink

I absolutely love Money Jungle, I don't get the "jamming" comment. To me it sounded like they were at each other's throats. And yeah "Solitude" is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever herad.

As for Far East Suite...it's absolutely beautiful. Can't think of anything else to say.

djdee2005 (djdee2005), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 06:56 (11 years ago) Permalink

anyway, for those of you scared of jazz, these are pop records.

Indeed. They are catchy and fill o hooks. With early to mid Ellington, due to recording technology, most songs were only around 3 minutes long. The classic Ellington / Strayhorn number Take The A Train packs a whole musical narrative in less than 3 minutes and has a great fadeout ending.

mentalist (mentalist), Wednesday, 15 September 2004 11:58 (11 years ago) Permalink

3 years pass...

I am listening to Jungle Nights in Harlem and you should too.

Oilyrags, Monday, 21 January 2008 03:24 (8 years ago) Permalink

I really love Far East Suite
and the shite with Coleman Hawkins.

If you don't like it, you're racist.

our work is never over, Monday, 21 January 2008 03:28 (8 years ago) Permalink

underrated record is 'side by side' w/ johnny hodges
sweets edison KILLS IT on trumpet

deej, Monday, 21 January 2008 03:29 (8 years ago) Permalink

Must look into that then!
I love those underrated ones.

our work is never over, Monday, 21 January 2008 03:33 (8 years ago) Permalink

Jubilee Stomp is an acceptable substitute if Jungle Nights in Harlem is not available.

Oilyrags, Monday, 21 January 2008 03:40 (8 years ago) Permalink

Damnit hes prolific.
I havn't heard any of this.

our work is never over, Monday, 21 January 2008 03:47 (8 years ago) Permalink

Jungle Nights and Jubilee Stomp are early stuff. On Bluebird, nice and cheap and very hard swinging and excellent.

Oilyrags, Monday, 21 January 2008 04:26 (8 years ago) Permalink

6 months pass...

I am really enjoying The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse, one of Ellington's last albums. I know it's supposed to be African-influenced -- and it is -- but it sounds even more rock-influenced, to me. Dark, thumping and rhythmic. Very unlike what I expect of Ellington (OTOH, I'm not all that familiar with his bread-and-butter big band work). Anyway, great disc. (n.1).

(n.1) I did cringe at the corny spoken-word opening of the album, tho. Minor quibble, I guess.

Daniel, Esq., Tuesday, 5 August 2008 10:55 (7 years ago) Permalink

haha, i LOVE that spoken word intro.
as has been noted in this thread, there's a ton of later period (60s-70s) Ellington that is amazingly good. One I didn't see mentioned is the piano/bass album with Ray Brown called This One's For Blanton. Sort of an album length sequel to the duets Duke did with Blanton way back when. The New Orleans Suite (Hodges' last album, I think) has some great moments as well.

tylerw, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 13:58 (7 years ago) Permalink

I have this and the remaster sounds fine to me, as good as you could expect for this period

I've kind of changed my mind on this. I think they did kind of screw it up - though it's still listenable if you turn the treble down a couple of notches on your stereo.

o. nate, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 16:07 (7 years ago) Permalink

yeah, i think maybe the first disc of the B|W Band comp is kind of dodgy, esp. on headphones. I've got an old double LP with a lot of the same stuff and it sounds better to me, even on my crappy turntable. That said, those recordings would be great recorded on a cell phone. goddam, some of it is unbelievably good.

tylerw, Tuesday, 5 August 2008 17:12 (7 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

I am really enjoying The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse


"Didjeridoo" is quickly becoming a tune I feel really gypped that I never got to play with my jazz combo in college

TOMBOT, Friday, 24 October 2008 07:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

emusic subscribers who don't have this record, you have wasted a month.

TOMBOT, Friday, 24 October 2008 07:15 (7 years ago) Permalink

Tom, you should post here too:
Ellington as pianist

Matos DJs on Wednesdays here and plays something from The Far East Suite almost every week.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Friday, 24 October 2008 08:35 (7 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

I've been listening to The Far East Suite pretty much nonstop, with a couple of plays of The Seattle Concert thrown in. Sound is rough, as it's a 1952 show (and Ellington's first LP as such), but really sweet. Clark Terry is really nice on "Perdido."

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Wednesday, 10 December 2008 00:02 (7 years ago) Permalink

I should say the album is really sweet, not the rough sound.

If Timi Yuro would be still alive, most other singers could shut up, Wednesday, 10 December 2008 00:03 (7 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Duke Ellington becomes first African-American on U.S. coin

Jazzbo, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 14:59 (6 years ago) Permalink

this is great -


Tracer Hand, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 15:40 (6 years ago) Permalink

Eee, that does look good. Also expensive.

tylerw, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 16:46 (6 years ago) Permalink

Jazz man is first African-American to solo on U.S. circulating coin

double bird strike (gabbneb), Tuesday, 24 February 2009 16:49 (6 years ago) Permalink

I've been saying for years we need to get politicians off our money and artists on. Nice work, DC! We could get off to no better start.

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 16:53 (6 years ago) Permalink


Oh god, the comments.

"I looked up Duke Ellington"

Wow. Says it all, really.

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 17:06 (6 years ago) Permalink

[6] | snoopydog

Who is Duke Ellington and why should I care about him? Are there any other individuals on the quarters that I missed? Usually it's some stupid mountain or some wild life from the state. Who's Duke Ellington? Was he the architect of DC? I thought that guy was French. Ellington does not sound French to me.

deej da 5'9 (deej), Tuesday, 24 February 2009 17:10 (6 years ago) Permalink

I realize that DC isn't exactly the center of intellectualism but really, a piano player who likes white suits?

Øystein, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 17:47 (6 years ago) Permalink

This is why I have instituted a strict "DO NOT READ COMMENTS ON INTERNET" policy. Talk about douchebags.

tylerw, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 17:59 (6 years ago) Permalink

a funny thing to post on an Internet message board, yeah, but I'm talking about newspaper comments, etc.

tylerw, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 18:00 (6 years ago) Permalink

Beat out Benjamin Banneker and Frederick Douglass. I guess I could live with any of those on a quarter. I still would like to replace Andrew Jackson on the 20 with someone a little less....genocidal, though.

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 20:03 (6 years ago) Permalink

Charlie Parker never committed any indian massacres, did he?

Oilyrags, Tuesday, 24 February 2009 20:05 (6 years ago) Permalink

<a href=http://www.sendspace.com/file/oc5mla>;Shhhh!</a>

Oilyrags, Wednesday, 25 February 2009 14:59 (6 years ago) Permalink

What is that, video of Charlie Parker committing indian massacres? Whilst playing "Cherokee"?

tylerw, Wednesday, 25 February 2009 15:30 (6 years ago) Permalink

Jubilee Stomp

Oilyrags, Wednesday, 25 February 2009 16:41 (6 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

lol, just got this bizarre email from Amazon:

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone who has purchased or rated music by Duke Ellington, you might like to know that New York, March 1959 is now available. You can order yours for just $950.00 by following the link below.
New York, March 1959 New York, March 1959
Duke Ellington
Price: $950.00

Album Description
New York, March 1959 by Ellington, Duke

This product is manufactured on demand using CD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


tylerw, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 15:16 (6 years ago) Permalink

Me too, discussion over here

CD PRICES: Did they ever become as affordable as the vinyl/cassettes they replaced? Why?/Why not?

It's a "burn on demand" CD, even

bendy, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 15:20 (6 years ago) Permalink

Customers Who Bought Related Items Also Bought

Mark G, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 15:48 (6 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Duke puts it on wax.

Like making waffles.

bendy, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 22:13 (6 years ago) Permalink

9 months pass...

I bought a cheapy 3-disc Ellington set the other day and it is totally ruling my life.

GayQuil (The Reverend), Wednesday, 12 May 2010 06:32 (5 years ago) Permalink

Very surprised not only that he was one of the last living Ellingtonians, but that he was the last living member of the Blanton-Webster band.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 27 May 2014 14:53 (1 year ago) Permalink

man, that guy had an interesting life... wonder if the documentary about him is any good?
this clip is something:

though i'll admit to never having been nuts about that song

tylerw, Tuesday, 27 May 2014 15:12 (1 year ago) Permalink

Thanks for posting that! Interesting arrangement, too -- different from what was released at the time.

It took me a while, but I grew to dig his voice. The first Ellington piece I (knowingly) heard was "You, You Darlin'" off the Blanton-Webster band set. I thought his singing was square and corny, but eventually heard how it worked with the rest of the orchestra. I can't imagine "Flamingo" any other way -- even Mingus' version (which is great) feels like something's missing without Jeffries.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 27 May 2014 15:19 (1 year ago) Permalink

9 months pass...

The poster Ben Williams of 11 years ago up-thread is eternally otm, some of the greatest music ever created on there.

xelab, Sunday, 1 March 2015 22:30 (11 months ago) Permalink

2 weeks pass...

Lately I cannot stop playing Ellington Uptown, The Far East Suite + Such Sweet Thunder. What a player/artist/arranger, he even makes Mingus sound like a mere gifted acolyte.

xelab, Friday, 20 March 2015 23:23 (10 months ago) Permalink

3 weeks pass...

whoa never knew that ellington recorded w/ conny plank! this doesn't sound like neu! but it does sound damn good.
As described by Henrik von Holtum, who wrote the album’s liner notes:

Duke Ellington’s musical works are seemingly well documented; the likelihood of finding a good, unreleased Duke Ellington recording is slight at best. When Grönland Records called and told me they had found exactly that in Conny Plank’s estate and asked me if I wanted to give it a listen, I felt pretty honored, and excited. The music of Duke Ellington is – in my worldview – to jazz what Bach’s oeuvre is to classical music: THE great benchmark, or – to raise it up onto an even higher pedestal – the Old Testament, the alpha and omega. With both Bach and Ellington, you can sit down at a piano simply to go through it building chords and something great always happens. This music is so rich, and it is virtually indestructible.

I listened to the recordings for the first time in Grönland Records’ offices. One session, two songs: three takes each of “Alerado” and “Afrique.” They weren’t just alternate takes, like you often get on reissues of jazz classics; you can really hear Ellington working. He’s not just looking for the best take to get something clearly defined, he’s experimenting.

The tempi change, solo instruments are switched around, and, on the last take of “Afrique,” you can even hear soprano vocals. “Alerado” is a straightforward swing number, it features Wild Bill Davis on the organ, and, most notably, Cat Anderson on the trumpet, who provide a foundation for striking concepts of sonority and solo performance. The musical approach to “Afrique” is freer and more avant-garde; the foundation of the piece is a tom-tom based beat that is sustained throughout and layered with improvisations and arranged segments.

Conny was fascinated by how great the difference in tone was between his prior studio work and those takes; the Ellington big band was delivering something totally different, something better than he was accustomed to. It resulted in a recording that even Conny could be happy with. This session seems to have given an important impulse to his work, independent of the praise he received from the master.

This casts the bon mot often attributed to Conny that “every band gets the sound it deserves” in a different light; it no longer comes across as an arrogant remark, but as a clear conception of a simple fact: one can only produce what’s there – if the performance isn’t any good, technology won’t help either. So, for him, it was a moment of realization and revelation.

And ensuring that the performance was spot-on was one of Conny’s great talents. Independently of one another, artists he later produced repeatedly described how vital his kindheartedness, tranquility and circumspection were to producing successful recordings.

tylerw, Wednesday, 15 April 2015 16:44 (9 months ago) Permalink

so cool

Brad C., Wednesday, 15 April 2015 16:49 (9 months ago) Permalink

Whoa new exotica-mode Ellington produced by conny plank??? Is this out yet?

demonic mnevice (Jon Lewis), Wednesday, 15 April 2015 16:54 (9 months ago) Permalink

out july 10

tylerw, Wednesday, 15 April 2015 16:55 (9 months ago) Permalink

this is insanely exciting

Vic Perry, Wednesday, 15 April 2015 18:03 (9 months ago) Permalink

Seriously can't wait for this.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Wednesday, 15 April 2015 18:06 (9 months ago) Permalink

Wow this will be great.

I have been going through a major Ellington binge for the last couple of months, I have barely listened to much else lately tbh

xelab, Wednesday, 15 April 2015 18:29 (9 months ago) Permalink


example (crüt), Wednesday, 15 April 2015 18:29 (9 months ago) Permalink

I didn't know much about Ellington other than his dad was a butler at the White House. I read a bit of the Terry Teachout book today and he portrays him very much as a brilliant last minute-meister who drove his band mad with mad with his consistent idle procrastination, rather than the driven musical Stakhanovite I was expecting. It was an amusing revelation for me(considering his 1700 compositions in 5 decades) that adds to his legend if anything.

xelab, Wednesday, 22 April 2015 20:51 (9 months ago) Permalink

3 months pass...

Duke salutes the Beatles!

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Sunday, 9 August 2015 12:42 (6 months ago) Permalink


Duke Ellington - Reflections In D -- a friend posted this.. apologies if it's already in the thread

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Sunday, 9 August 2015 13:44 (6 months ago) Permalink

"Well gentlemen, Sullivan's wardrobe department is letting me off the hook with the lace cuffs, but the rest of you are going to have to roll with it."

juggulo for the complete klvtz (bendy), Sunday, 9 August 2015 13:47 (6 months ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

I am really getting into Bonga off the Afro Bossa album recently.

xelab, Sunday, 13 September 2015 00:36 (4 months ago) Permalink

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