Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Up in Duke's Workshop
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
I don't get it
jive rhapsodist | NYC, NY United States | 02/11/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Is there too much Ellington material in the world? No, never! But, still...I don't really get the stockpile stuff. He records OK Blueses all the time for about 20 years. None of them are on the level of his classic Blues compositions. I would understand if they were needed to fill out a CD (or LP), as is often the case in Duke's "Suites". There's always some long, semi-uninspired Blues somewhere, particularly in the late ones. And the first 3 tracks on this disc are perfect examples. Nothing wrong with them. But I feel that they take away from our being able to really engage with Duke's work at its finest. We start to get a kind of "it's all Ellington, and it's all great" feeling, which I find kind of numbing. Then comes Love Is Just Around The Corner, which gives me a chill. It's a Wild Bill Davis arrangement. Absolutely anachronistic - it could have been written any time after the mid-40's. But this was the sound of the Ellington band in the early '70's - I remember it well. All that crumbling elegance. Cootie sounding so amazingly effortful. All of the sections of the band bravely holding it together. Everything just on the edge of falling apart - the brass sound so frayed. The rhythm section gamely plugging along, not really sure of its mission any longer. Did this kind of Jazz still have a place in the world of that time? If not, then what should they do? Then Bateau - back to more OK Blues - this time with the dreaded "TV Rock" (Think Hawaii 5-0 or The Streets of San Francisco) sound. This is basically Acht O' Clock Rock with less thematic profile. Then a remake of Wanderlust, from the '30's. None of the magic of the original. Then something interesting: a recomposition of part of 1931's Creole Rhapsody. Not really good, but it's interesting to hear Duke go that far back for inspiration. This is followed by one of my favorite '30's Ellington melodies, Black Butterfly. Wrongly dated after Hodges' death. But his posthumous solo is one of this disc's few high points. Not so the last track, Mendoza, another desultory Boogaloo Blues featuring Wild Bill Davis' organ. I'll never part with this CD, but I'm that kind of Ellington fan(atic). Are you?"