Search - Duke Ellington :: Okeh Ellington

Okeh Ellington
Duke Ellington
Okeh Ellington
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #2

Digesting the music of Duke Ellington's revolutionary "jungle" period is a complicated pursuit because he recorded multiple arrangements for a number of labels between 1927 and 1932. Sony owns his OKeh and Columbia cuts (f...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Duke Ellington
Title: Okeh Ellington
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 1
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 3/26/1991
Release Date: 3/26/1991
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Swing Jazz, Orchestral Jazz
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPCs: 074644617726, 074644617740

Synopsis essential recording
Digesting the music of Duke Ellington's revolutionary "jungle" period is a complicated pursuit because he recorded multiple arrangements for a number of labels between 1927 and 1932. Sony owns his OKeh and Columbia cuts (found on these two CDs), BMG owns his Victor sides, and Decca owns his Brunswick and Vocalion work (issued on the three-CD Early Ellington). All of them contain readings of standout compositions like "Black and Tan Fantasy," "East St. Louis Toodle-oo," "Black Beauty," "The Mooche," "Mood Indigo," and "Rockin' in Rhythm." The OKeh package lacks versions of "Solitude" and "Creole Love Call," but offers some noteworthy exclusives: superb solo stride-piano versions of "Black Beauty" and "Swampy River"; Jabbo Smith's wonderful trumpet solo on a 1927 version of "Black and Tan Fantasy" as a game-day replacement for "indisposed" co-composer Bubber Miley; and the first recording of "The Mooche," with Miley in control and guitarist Lonnie Johnson augmenting an already formidable lineup that includes Tricky Sam Nanton, Barney Bigard, Harry Carney, and Johnny Hodges. Even when a star like trumpet-growl pioneer Miley moved on, Cootie Williams would more than fill the gap. Musically, Ellington brought jazz to new levels of sophistication, complexity, and emotional depth during this first great period, synthesizing the classic New Orleans sound with a vibrant theatrical element and a dynamic rhythmic impulse. --Marc Greilsamer

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CD Reviews

Fabulous music-wretched engineering
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Unfortunately, Sony engineers Tim Geelan and Larry Keyes take the old school approach to 78s, and amputate the treble along with the noise in these reissues. Once you've heard what really is stored on old 78s---e.g. in Steven Lasker's superb digital restorations on "The Best of the Duke Ellington Centennial Edition (RCA Victor)"---sound as on "The Okeh Ellingon" is intolerable. One can only hope that these fabulous Ellington tracks get reissued again with different engineers. To hear just how good 78 sound can be, check out "Bessie Smith: 1925-1933 (Hermes)", and "The Very Best of Ella Mae Morse"."
Fantastic music worth owning
Al Chartreux | Upper West Side, New York, New York United States | 07/30/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm not an audio engineer or recording expert, just someone who loves great music and jazz. Maybe the gent who wrote the above review is justified in his criticisms. Personally, I think the sound is what one would expect from mono recordings made in the 1920's and early 30's. However, the point I would like to make is that regardless of any engineering deficiencies that may exist, the music on these 2 discs is great, and well worth owning.You'd really be doing yourself a huge disservice to shun these discs because the sound quality isn't perfect. There are instances when the quality of the music transcends the imperfections of the recording. Take 'The Complete Robert Johnson Recordings' as an example. Would you not listen to classic blues or other great discs because the recordings are full of hisses and scratches? Of course not. This set sounds far better (sound quality-wise). The songs are classic, so check them out."
Atrocious Noise Reduction Job
Smilin' Jack | Coahuila, Mexico | 10/06/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I'm appalled this CD is still in print using the same horrid transfers Sony made in 1991. The major label philosophy at that time was, "Eliminate any and all trace of hiss or crackle from the original 78, no matter if it totally kills the music in the process." Great progress has been made since that time in the development of technology to transfer 78s without destroying the music, but has Sony bothered to create a new remaster? No. They are still pressing new CDs from the original 1991 transfers and they sound HORRID. Save your money, I beg of you, and wait for somebody to do this material correctly. This release is a disgrace."