Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Such Sweet Thunder
Genres: Jazz, Pop
2008 reissue of the complete original album Such Sweet Thunder, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's musical vision of the works of William Shakespeare featuring three extra tracks from the same sessions that were not incl... more »
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2008 reissue of the complete original album Such Sweet Thunder, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's musical vision of the works of William Shakespeare featuring three extra tracks from the same sessions that were not included on the original LP, as well as two other complete Ellington suites: The Harlem Suite and The Controversial Suite. For an African American Jazz musician to compose a suite based on Shakespearian themes during the 1950s was certainly not an every day occasion. In fact, it would have been an ambitious project even for a classical composer. But when the composer in question is the one-and-only Duke Ellington, no one is surprised at all. 18 tracks. Essential Jazz Classics.
Ellington and the Bard
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 03/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
This is Duke Ellington's suite in tribute to Shakespeare. Most of the selections are inspired by a particular character (Othello, Caesar, Henry V, for example), and most feature the work of a particular band member. SONNET TO HAND CINQ features Britt Woodman's trombone to good effect; LADY MAC, a waltz and one of the best tunes in the suite, has excellent Clark Terry work; CIRCLE OF FOURTHS, the only track that is taken up-tempo, has a good Paul Gonsalves solo. The most famous selection is STAR-CROSSED LOVERS and features Johnny Hodges on alto in a beautiful solo. Other musicians featured are Harry Carney on THE TELECASTERS and Quentin Jackson on trombone in SONNET FOR SISTER KATE. The music in this suite is introspective for the most part and highly personal; how connected it is to anything Shakespearean is up for debate. The better pieces are quite attractive; it's the kind of music Ellington hoped to be remembered for."
Shakespeare would've loved it
jive rhapsodist | NYC, NY United States | 05/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Be jealous of me - I own CD Col 469140 2, which was an earlier reissue that I bought somewhere in Europe. Needless to say, it has the right take of Up And Down...Look for it! This is Duke and Billy's finest writing together - from the swagger of the title track, with its hidden references to Birmingham Breakdown and Jumpin' Punkins, and its use of Duke's "African" motto theme (check out Dance #5 from Liberian Suite) to the very particular decadent elegance of Lady Mac (note the use of Procope's alto). And then one of Duke's very best usages of Clark Terry in that great piece of musical humor, Up And Down, and his best - ever piece for Cat Anderson, the stunning Madness in Great Ones - one of Duke's most "cutting edge" pieces (though I have to admit I don't love the climax - it feels a little overblown). It seems that no one but myself has ever heard some slight nods towards Gil Evans in this suite. Something in the very particular transparency of the scoring - the lightness of the brass writing. Some sonorities...I could see them feeling it. But whatever, this is a masterpiece. One should expect nothing less from Duke, although now that we're living in the age of Ellington hagiography, where (albeit brilliant) sketches like Afro - Eurasian Eclipse are treated like the second coming of Ko-Ko, I think the critical standard is a little low in general. But put that all aside - this CD is a triumph."
Out on a limb? The greatest Jazz album?
D. Taylor | Reston, Va United States | 12/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
" I've argued this is the greatest jazz album while conceding there are many perfect works - Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" at the top.
Simply, if there's one album I'd put in a time capsule that could teach distant generations what jazz is and how to play it - this is it. Power, tenderness, bravado and swing. Each instrument is showcased by virtuoso artists. How do you play jazz violin? Trumpet? And Muted? Sax? Clarinet? Baritone sax? Drums? Bass? Piano (well, Ellington)? Compositions of genius. From this seed, the entire artform could be reborn. So if greatness serves these virtues as well as pleasure, I'm sure Miles would be okay with the silver medal.