Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Live at the Blue Note
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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On my TOP 3 of all Ellington releases!
Michael R. Lachance | Maine, USA | 09/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I honestly have to say that 'Newport '56 [Complete]', 'The Great Summit' (Armstrong/Ellington) and 'Live at the Blue Note' rank among my top three favorite Ellington Releases.I ran across this double CD set while drudging through page after page of Ellingtonia here on Amazon. I figured it looked like a good bet. I WAS MORE THAN RIGHT. This recording captures Ellington and band in the famous Blue Note club in Chicago, in a 3-set gig (6pm, 10pm and Midnight) on August 9, 1959. Ive never heard Duke so intimate and personable with his audience. In this case a club setting with perhaps just a few hundred patrons. The band is at their prime, still spinning from the riotous Newport concerts of recent. Duke invites Billy Strayhorn to join him at the piano on several tunes, and later on in the evening, a few numbers into the final set, Duke welcomes June Christy and Stan Kenton who are among the patronage.This CD contains the complete recorded show, albeit with a few omissions as there were a small number of tunes which were not captured that evening. This is one of the most enjoyable listens i have had in quite sometime. The audio is very good quality HiFi stereo taken from a 3-track master. Total running time is about 135 minutes (2 CD's)With the enormous stockpile of great Ellington material and recordings out there, it is quite an accomplishment to have a "gig" such as this stand so clearly above much of that stockpile.This *IS* one of the best. The Blue Note existed in chicago until 1960, when the be-bop and rock craze forced the owners to close the doors for good. Wouldnt it be great to live to see Jazz come back and give us nights like this again?"
Really Smoothe Ellington
D. J. Zabriskie | Park Ridge, NJ USA | 03/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've always had a fondness for live Ellington recordings. Duke's interplay with the audience between numbers allows some of his personality to intrude on the proceedings, and, as everybody knows by now, Duke Ellington was one of the smoothest charmers to ever wear a pair of socks! Duke is in particularly good form here, even if he gets so carried away with his own blarney that at one point he actually blows an introduction.
Let's clear up an error right away. These sessions originate from 1958, not 1952 as stated in the heading. You can tell by the guys in the band (Sam Woodyard, for example, did not join Duke until 1955, and there was no PLAYBOY magazine, let alone a jazz festival sponsored by it, in 1952.). As for the music...
Billy Strayhorn does an infrequent star-turn, opening up with some very tasty piano chorouses on "Take the A Train." Johnny Hodges is a salty, sexy gas on "Flirtibird." "Mood Indigo" is a standout, with marvelous solos from Russell Procope, Shorty Baker, and an astounding piano solo by Duke which starts out on the 2nd degree of the key he's in and modulates, modulates, modulates for 3 chorouses, until landing right on the dominant in the turnaround of the 3rd chorous. Quips Duke to the audience: "I've been waiting all night to do that!" "Satin Doll" gets a similar treatment from Duke, with him calling out chords to the bass player so he doesn't get lost (!!!).
"A Disarming Visit by June Christy and Stan Kenton" is Dukish verbal interplay at its most extremely elegant.
Like most of Duke's dates in the 50's, the newer material comes off better than the stuff from the 40's, like "C-Jam Blues" and "In a Mellotone," which are no better than perfunctory. But the medley of 20's hits ("Black and Tan Fantasy," "Creole Love Call" and "The Mooche") is so perfectly arranged and executed it will leave you breathless!
Want more? How about the four-handed duets by Duke and Billy on "Drawing Room Blues" and "Tonk"? It's all good-humored fun and quite musical, too!
On the balance, this is one of the better live sets of Ellington out there, and the one which reveals Duke at his SMOOTHEST. Check it out!"
4 1/2 stars.
fluffy, the human being. | forest lake, mn | 03/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"one the best things about digging into duke ellington's discography is that it is soooo vast. so many recordings on the market! what a feast for the ears awaits one when they enter ellington's world of jazz. personally, i have around forty ellington discs, and not a one do i regret owning. some of his recordings, like: "early ellington," "okeh ellington," "the blanton-webster years," the 1943 "carnegie hall concerts," "black, brown, and beige," "ellington at newport," and "the far east suite" are no-brainers. once you start investigating jazz, these are the ones that you hear about as essential. you can't really miss out on them, if you make any effort to read up on the music. but, because there are so many, some fine ellington albums can fall through the cracks. many great ones you shouldn't miss, but could. the 1959 release "live at the blue note" is one of those. an excellent recording of many ellington favorites played live with an exciting and fresh feel about them. johnny hodges alto sax playing is particularly wonderful here. this is a set of big band magic not to be missed. an underappreciated work in ellington's discography, if you ask me."