"This CD is a highlight of my Duke Ellington collection. Everyone needs works from the early Ellington period -- the famous band of the 40's -- the extended works from various years -- and fun compilations of Ellington standards. And then there is this fabulous, well rounded, diverse live concert from the early 60's. It is a superb insight into the work at that time -- long after the Ellington orchestra's place in history was secured, but still early enough that many of the most famous Ellington soloists were at the height of their skills (Lawrence Brown, Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Harry Carney, etc.). To me the highlight has always been the work of Johnny Hodges, the lead saxophonist, on this album. His ensemble work throughout out this is fantastic, and his solos, especially on "Sunny Side of the Street" and "Star Crossed Lovers" are landmarks. There is one note that he plays during his solo on "Star Crossed Lovers" that is the most incredible note in my CD collection. That one note -- a note he holds, bends, squeezes, softens, strengthens, and bends some more -- is worth the price of this CD.This, in short, is a necessity if you have other Ellington; it's a great place to start if you want to discover Ellington but want something a little more interesting than a compilation of standards."
Duke's Finest Hour
ooscott | Manhasset, NY | 08/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"So often your hear critics pontificate, about how Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong had faded into mere shadows of their former selves after WWII. In both cases, my response is... "horse hockey". Indeed both Satchmo and Duke can be appreciated during the many tranistions and phases of their extrordinary carrers. At the time of this recording Ellington was entering his fifth decade as the leader of the world's premier jazz orchastra. With a supporting cast of longstanding legends such as Harry Carney, Cat Anderson, Paul Gonsalves, Louie Bellson and the inimitable Johnny Hodges, Duke leads the troops through an exhusting reportorie of well-worn classics. With so many many great Ellington live recordings available on CD, it's difficult to choose one's favorite. For my money The Great Paris Concert is Duke's finest hour and essential listening for any bonifide jazz enthusiast."
Mon amour lunatique.
David G. Smith | Fairfax, CA United States | 03/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The title of this review is my dimestore french translation of how Duke used to sign off his concerts. "We Love You Madly)......and truer words were never spoken about this work.This is one of my cherished vinyls. The first piece hops madly...Kinda Dukish into rockin in rhythm...What a fantastic opening. Then like all work of Ellington it moves through moods. There are definite Elington Classic Songs...but so much more. Ellington wrote classical music for a jazz band.(Here there is a tone parallel and a Suite based on a piece by Steinbeck) Some of it is played here, and after a few listenings you will be wanting more. Also the concert really showcases some of the great players of this era. I have already waxed poetical earlier in my review life about the work of Johnny Hodges, and this concert showcases Johnny in a few pieces. Also it features my favorite Hodges piece, Star Crossed Lovers.....But you really get to know all the great players on this concert...Laurence Brown, Harry Carney, Cat Anderson(a trumpeter who hits notes not found in nature) Cootie Williams....these are the jazz names of their time. You have gotta give this several listens...and there is no turning back, cherie. You will be loving this madly."
Finally on CD
Dennis P. Frangipane | Warrenton, VA | 05/15/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the all time great albums. I've had this on vinyl for over 30 years and have been waiting patiently for it to arrive on cd. It's been well worth the wait. The first two cuts alone are worth the price. Enjoy."