Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Outstanding piano playing by the Master.Indispensable!!!
JEAN-MARIE JUIF | BESANCON France | 07/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Duke Ellington's musical career lasted about for fifty five years,and this man, who was the greatest composer and band leader of all times,and also one of the most amazing and adventurous piano players of jazz,recorded only a few albums in solo or trio setting.
This one,recorded in NYC,1966,and Las Vegas,1970,is as important as "piano reflections" or "piano in the foreground".The first seven tunes will give you the pleasure to listen to Duke with John Lamb on bass,and one of the Masters of drums,Sam Woodyard; on the last three selections,Paul Kondziela plays bass,and Rufus Jones is on drums.
And of course,the masterpieces figure in the first seven tracks.The very classical-oriented "looking glass" is a real marvel;"Don Juan" or "slow blues" are great tunes ,too;but the treasure here is the very bluesy,yet gospel-tinted by its title,"the shepherd" (aka "the shepherd who watches over the night flock",a part of Duke's first Sacred Concert). You'll find here the spirit of some tunes included in Duke's famous "Money jungle" album.Sam's incredible support on brushes is the perfect answer to Duke's phrases.And here is the essence of blues,something that Duke could play maybe better than anyone.
Here are the lyrics Duke wrote to describe the blues,and they may be the best ones ever written:
"The blues ain't nothing but a cold grey day,
"and all night long it stays that way;
"the blues is a one-way ticket from your love to nowhere,
"the blues ain't nothing but a black crepe veil ready to wear".Nothing has to be added to these words.This amazing,very necessary to every piano lover, this immense album is a marvel in Duke's discography.You'll discover here a man,in his early seventies,playing piano in the most modern way.Duke's playing will never seem old or dated;he often could have been named a free jazz musician,from the earliest years ("Creole love call","East StLouis toodle-oo","Saturday night function","black and tan fantasy") until the last ones ("La plus belle africaine","the old circus train turns around blues"...).Duke is the greatest genius of the 20th century's music.So,don't miss this rare opportunity to listen to him as a pianist,and not as a band leader."
Duke's keyboard mastery
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 11/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most people, if they can conjure up an image of Duke Ellington at all, probably think of him first as a band leader; second, as a composer, and finally, as a pianist. Some self-proclaimed hipper cats might switch first and second around, but everyone puts pianist last. There is probably nothing incorrect about that (Ellington actually played his orchestra more than the piano), but that doesn't mean his piano playing was inferior.
This album helps prove that. Ellington is in a trio setting throughout, and one is struck by his simplicity in approach to the keyboard. Quite a few of the tunes here are blues, and Duke can play the blues as sparingly as Basie did. SLOW BLUES and SAM WOODYARD'S BLUES are cases in point - simple, single-line performances on the most basic of blues themes. We also have some examples of Dukes compositional skills: DON JUAN and TAP DANCER'S BLUES are both snappy compositions, and bassist John Lamb has a nice solo on the latter. Two takes of THE SHEPHERD are given, with the longer second take the better of the two (Duke has a nice coda where he repeats the theme). This CD offers a seldom revealed (at least on records) side of Ellington's artistry - and it's a good one."
Classic piano from the duke
p dizzle | augusta, georgia, USA | 11/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"with all of his recognition as a bandleader, composer, etc., we sometimes forget just how fine a pianist duke ellington was. fortunately, there are many of his small group sessions and trio dates in print. this one comes from a later period, the tracks recorded in 1966 and 1970, and first released in 1974. the swing is there, drenched in the blues. mr. ellington sets a tone and mood like an after midnight moment on 52nd street. even as an elder statesman, mr. ellington could swing. particular highlights here are the two takes of "the shepherd", "sam woodyard's blues", and "duck amok." note that there are two trios featured here (tracks 1-6 and 7-10 are the division), but the focus is on mr. ellington's piano. the only reason for docking a star at all is that the set is not as innovative as some of mr. ellington's other trio work (e.g. the stellar "money jungle" set on blue note), but this is a superb album. enjoy..."