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Ellington Suites
Duke Ellington
Ellington Suites
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

Certainly one of the more obscure entries in the Ellington discography, this collection combines three distinct works, most notably 1959's masterpiece, "The Queen's Suite." Written as a personal thank you to Queen Elizabet...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Duke Ellington
Title: Ellington Suites
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Ojc
Release Date: 7/1/1991
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Swing Jazz
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 025218644624

Certainly one of the more obscure entries in the Ellington discography, this collection combines three distinct works, most notably 1959's masterpiece, "The Queen's Suite." Written as a personal thank you to Queen Elizabeth for her courtly reception of the Orchestra during the previous year, "The Queen's Suite" is, quite fittingly, a highly orchestrated six-part opus that tends toward beauty, grace, and elegance as opposed to heated improvisation, raw emotion, and blues inflections. From the exquisitely fluttering opener "Sunset and the Mockingbird" to the majestic and brassy "Northern Lights" to the sublimely delicate piano solo "The Single Petal of a Rose" to the fierce finale "Apes and Peacocks," the 20-minute suite is an absolutely stunning delight. This collection is rounded out by a pair of early-1970s recordings: the six-part "Goutelas Suite" is a bold and mysterious piece centered around the ruminative "Something" and hard-charging "Having at It." The three-part "Uwis Suite" is notable for "Klop," the only polka in the Duke's canon. --Marc Greilsamer

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CD Reviews

Joseph Cavaseno | Bellerose, NY United States | 01/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This CD is a major purchase for anyone serious about the creative work of Duke Ellington. I am a major believer that despite Billy Strayhorn's great influence on Ellington, his presence alongside Ellington served as a musical crutch, and upon Strayhorn's passing, Duke was, for the first time since the late 1930's, forced to rely upon his own creative devices. Duke's output after1967 soared! Without Strayhorn, he was relegated to his own creative devices, and he suddenly exhibits the following changes in his compositional style: 1)an awareness of pop music and culture, and a willingness to infuse elements in keeping with the times... 2)a newly found plaintivity, similar aesthetically perhaps to his 'jungle band'(1926-1933)days....dark, richly textured voicings, raw emotional outcrying. ... 3)a new sparsity, an importance and urgency now seems attached to fewer notes and musical phrases...everything seems heightened, more meaningful 4)an overall accumulation of influences 'learned' from the Strayhorn period (1938-67), such as a fuller appreciation of the their own serious formats (note: I don't use the word classical) What I am leading up to here is this: the recordings documented here from the post-Strayhorn era (1968-1974), namely the Goutelas and Uwis Suites, are totally revolutionary works of art from Duke Ellington's most intense creative period, in my opinion. Of course, the Queen's Suite, from 1959 is also totally incredible work, and probably more accesable to most 'jazz' listeners, format and texture-wise, and still bears much of the Strayhorn sound. The Queen's Suite is still written in the format Duke designed in the year 1944, with his Perfume Suite: Ellington/Strayhorn dealing in series of short 'songs' featuring a variety of mood pieces with certain formulaic textures. Well, get ready, because the Uwis and Goutelas, though still basically formatted in the short song format, totally break camp where texture is concerned. Duke tries everything f rom an atonal flute/piccolo duet in fourths, to a damn Polka. And the beauty of it? It's all pure Ellington, raw and uncut, without the Strayhorn cleanliness. if anything, these pieces will remind you of David Murray's Octet of the 1980's or perhaps Sun Ra! Duke seems to believe in himself so much here, and seems to be totally unconcerend with any need to make a 'hit' or be accessible at all. He is just writing here, pure and honest and deep ly, from the well of emotions he had on tap that made him the greatest American composer. The result is some of the rawest, darkest, most emotionally intense music I have ever heard. Buy it!"
Perfect music
Felix Guerenabarrena | ondarroa, bizkaia Euzkadi | 09/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a proof that Ellington's composing skills rank up there with XX century's most brilliant musicians, both in the classical and jazz realms. According to the liner notes this music was entirely written by Ellington as a present for the Queen of England. It is a music that shines for its sheer beauty. Perhaps it is less swinging than some other jazz pieces, but it is so enchanting that anyone with ears will be thrilled by it. Don't hesitate to buy this CD since it is a remastered version of a previous release. The remastering is most evident in the Queen's suite, as now most of the hiss has been removed and the instruments sound sharper than ever. We should feel blessed for being able to listen to these masterpieces."
I never knew about this, still I was stunned
freereign | Ocean of Corn, MN | 11/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had never heard the "back story" of this music, I just picked this out of the used record bins at the sight of the name Ellington. I just put it on one day while composing emails, and I was simply stunned. I'm no jazz expert, no music theorist who can tell you a d flat minor from a G major, I just like what I hear. I learned a little about Ellington's genius years ago and he's never let me down, even though I haven't felt a need to study his music. I just let it happen and you very likely can do the same."