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|Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Wynton Marsalis|
Live in Swing City - Swingin' With Duke
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Powerfully rendered and enthusiastically received by the crowd at New York's Supper Club, this collection of Duke Ellington favorites is worthwhile for its buoyant spirit and execution. It's a session where, like most of E... more »
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Powerfully rendered and enthusiastically received by the crowd at New York's Supper Club, this collection of Duke Ellington favorites is worthwhile for its buoyant spirit and execution. It's a session where, like most of Ellington's, multiple soloists get to sound off in a three-minute span, creating an atmosphere where economy in individual expression is a must. So on "C Jam Blues," long associated with Ellington's favorite alto saxophonist, Johnny Hodges, Wynton Marsalis yields the floor to fellow trumpeter Marcus Printup, who in turn yields to tenor saxophonist Walter Blanding, and so on. Further, the band avoids trying to echo Hodges's alto to make the tune more Ellingtonian. The group is content to shuffle through it in its own manner, sounding frequently more like a bluesy Basie band than an Ellington outfit. No matter, though, since this is ultimately a fun recording, packed with solid band workouts and even handsomely presenting vocalists Milt Grayson on "Multi Colored Blue" and Dianne Reeves on "Bli Blip." But it's not ultimately the swinging tunes, best of which here are "Cottontail" and "Harlem Air Shaft," that make this a genuinely important look at Ellington. It's the band's reflective take on Billy Strayhorn's "Chinoiserie," replete with Blanding's smart solo. Or maybe it is "Cottontail," with Illinois Jacquet's wingspread solo with its mix of gutbucket pocks and slurry wisps. --Andrew Bartlett
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