Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Duke Ellington Presents
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Duke Ellington Presents?, recorded for Bethlehem in 1956, is unusual in that it consists mainly of standards. On it, Duke and key soloists work wonders on such chestnuts as "My Funny Valentine," "Summertime," "Laura," and ... more »
Duke Ellington Presents?, recorded for Bethlehem in 1956, is unusual in that it consists mainly of standards. On it, Duke and key soloists work wonders on such chestnuts as "My Funny Valentine," "Summertime," "Laura," and the Rosetta Stone of be-bop, "I Can?t Get Started," plus a few choice Ellington originals. Duke Ellington Presents? is an accessible entry point for newcomers, as well as an overlooked gem for Duke fans.
Pre-Newport 1956 Ellington
Robert J. Ament | Ballwin, MO United States | 06/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Originally recorded on the Bethlehem label, this is a very good if unessential cd to add to one's collection. What makes it different from other Ellington recordings is that six of the eleven selections are material not normally associated with his music. As one would expect from the title, this is a showcase for the excellent sidemen in the Ellington band. In a sense, that makes it more "Ellington" since his compositions were usually written with the talents of his personnel in mind. This is good......because one gets to hear the the likes of Paul Gonsalves' vaporous tones on a ballad like "Laura" and contrast that to his performance on "Cotton Tail" taken at a break-neck pace.I enjoyed the entire cd...particularly Harry Carney on "Frustration", Johnny Hodges on "Daydream", Paul Gonsalves, Jimmy Hamilton on "Deep Purple", and the finale,"Blues", where everybody blows!If you dig the Ellington band, you will like this."
Worth checking out--lots of the "Strayhorn effect"
Peter Gillette | Appleton, WI United States | 03/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found this CD in a bargain bin at a record store that was closing, and, while it's not the warmest Duke album, it's certainly one of the most plush. Cottontail burns here with Paul Gonsalves giving his extended treatment to the original chart (with, it sounds like, Cat Anderson adding his, um, tasteful touch to the band choruses). Elsewhere, though, the palette is much more moody and expansive, with cool ballads that spring forth big climaxes. Strayhorn contributed five works to this album, among them Deep Purple, a fine arrangement of his own "Day Dream," and "Laura." "Laura" in particular is a fascinating feature for Johnny Hodges in that Hodges seems to be influenced by Charlie Parker's (Hodges-like) reading of this on the with-strings album. Sure, the sound is muddy, but if you're the type who would track down and appreciate these arrangements, you probably aren't TOO hung up on the need for crystalline digital transfers. One of two concurrent Duke albums for the smaller Bethlehem label, this album hasn't gotten the Columbia dress-up and publicity that virtually all of his other late-fifties reissues have gotten, and that's a shame, because on every track, you can hear the band tentatively getting used to their new role as a studio orchestra rather than a dance band, and the soloists really rise to the occasion. Why not five stars? Many of the finest charts (especially, in fact, the Strayhorn ones) are quite dated in their more elementary use of whole-tone sonorities, making them--in isolated moments--sound less sophisticated than the more experimental ballads the band would record in the sixties, or even, for that matter, than the plush ballads of the Blanton-Webster period in the forties, that were less self-conscious and had more of a constant pulse. Nonetheless, these are chance-taking arrangements, and if you're into jazz orchestration, check it out."