Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Indispensable V.5 & 6
Listen to Samples
Antoine P. MANENS | Rennes, France | 06/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Here is a CD that too few people know. Maybe because it's an import. Maybe because it's a compilation. Anyway, let me tell you that this is one of the richest CD's (actually there are two discs) that you will ever buy. What is it about? Ellington and his big band in the late thirties and early forties, his best period in my opinion. Imagine: the soloists are called Ben Webster, Cootie Williams, Barney Bigard..., the orchestra is full of resources and plays all the great compositions of Duke (most of which were written at the time of the recording for this group). It's such a dense CD! All the songs are tailored to the three-minute length of a 78-rpm record, but wow... it's rare in jazz to hear so many great ideas on this format. And these last eight tracks of the volume 6! Ellington in duo with Jimmy Blanton on the bass. Both of them are amazing of creativity, virtuosity and modernity. So, if you like jazz, this two volumes have to be part of your collection! Actually, if I had to keep only one CD of the Duke, I would keep this one..."
Jazz as near perfection as you'll get
Robin Benson | 08/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The music on this wonderful CD captures, in 1940, the peak of the Ellington orchestra. The key players, Cootie Williams, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol, Johnny Hodges, Barney Bigard, Ben Webster, Harry Carney, Jimmy Blanton and arranger Billy Strayhorn were now playing in the finest jazz orchestra ever!
I had some of these tracks on a ten-inch LP in the mid-Fifties and it was a fine introduction to jazz for a teenager. Repeated playing over the years (in various formats, ten then twelve inch and finally CD) still make these tracks fresh and exciting. There is so much to enjoy, especially these two pieces, 'Concerto for Cootie', a stunning performance by the orchestra, featuring Cootie Williams on trumpet, this track is perhaps the finest example of jazz perfection and 'Cotton Tail' with Ben Webster on sax, the orchestra powers behind him to a swing climax. I think the time limitations of the old 78 discs actually helped because it encouraged tight, straightforward arranging and playing and eliminated any unnecessary notes just to fill out the time
This is an amazing CD with the very best of Ellington but it is unfortunate that it has not been issued as the two volume set the title implies. I have this and it was originally issued in France in the early nineties. If you check out the title on French or German Amazon you'll see the extra twelve tracks and I really think it is worth trying to get this double CD album."