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A Good Introduction to the Duke
Gary F. Taylor | Biloxi, MS USA | 02/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Born Edward Kennedy Ellington in 1899, Duke Ellington played an estimated 20,000 performance dates and received both the French Legion of Honor and the American Presidential Medal of Freedom before his death in 1974. Equally exacting in both craft and art, he was a brilliant jazz pianist and composer who found his true calling as conductor of his own band--and over the years his band included the best of the best.
THE ORIGINAL CAPITOL RECORDINGS consists of fourteen tracks recorded by Ellington and his band from the early to mid-1950s, and it is a fine sampling of Ellington classics. Opening with the sedutive "Satin Doll" and finishing up with a ten-minute rendition of "It Don't Mean A Thing," the music moves through all of Ellington's musical modes from lushious to strident. It is true that Ellington's work of this period lacked the urgent quality often found in his earliest work--and it is true that some prefer his work of that era--but this is still good stuff indeed.
Although the selections here would benefit from a remastering, the quality does not detract from enjoyment of the music; the sound is generally quite good. If you are looking for an intro to The Duke, this would be a very nice place to start.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer"