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Duke Ellington's Far East Suite [Original recording remastered, Extra tracks]

Duke Ellington Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 16.10 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Duke Ellington's Far East Suite + ...And His Mother Called Him Bill + New Orleans Suite
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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 Oct 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered, Extra tracks
  • Label: Bluebird / BMG
  • ASIN: B0000C8AOZ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,452 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Tourist Point of ViewDuke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 5:140.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Bluebird of Delhi (Mynah)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 3:130.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. IsfahanDuke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 4:070.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. DepkDuke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 2:510.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Mount HarissaDuke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 7:430.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Blue Pepper (Far East of The Blues)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 3:020.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. AgraDuke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 2:370.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. AmadDuke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 4:280.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Ad Lib on NipponDuke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra11:34Album Only
Listen10. Tourist Point of View (Take 4)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 5:170.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Amad (Take 7)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 4:140.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Bluebird of Delhi (Take 8)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 3:140.99  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Bluebird of Delhi (Mynah) (Take 9)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 3:210.99  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Isfahan (Take 2)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 4:170.99  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Depk (Take 15)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 2:460.99  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Mount Harissa (Take 4)Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra 8:470.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Patience rewarded 12 May 2010
By Udeen
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Like many of the Duke's studio albums, I found 'Far East Suite' took some getting used to. As 'The Penguin Guide To Jazz' points out, the 'Far East' bit is really a misnomer. If there is an oriental influence, it's more Middle Eastern in flavour. Perhaps one reason why I found the music initially rather inaccessible is because it sounds so alien to a person almost entirely used to hearing rock music. Is it jazz? World music? Jazz rock? Who cares. It is a waste of time trying to pigeon-hole Duke Ellington; he refuses to play along.

I came across the first piece (song might be the wrong word), 'Tourist Point Of View', as part of a jazz compilation and found it intriguing. When I realised that I had been listening to Ellington and his orchestra I nearly fell off my chair. 'Tourist Point Of View' is a perfect way to open this strange collection. It threatens to gel into some kind of song structure, but it is more of an image than a song, and a pretty troubling one at that. To me, it's the story of a tourist who feels more than just confused by the unfamiliar sights and sounds. Don't let me put you off: 'Tourist Point Of View' is a masterpiece of sorts.

The intensity and inventiveness never let up. 'Isfahan', a superb vehicle for Johnny Hodges, and the suitably towering 'Mount Harissa' may be highlights, but each of the other compositions is essential and compelling. What marks 'Far East Suite' out as something really special, though, is that after all these delights, Duke Ellington can top it all with the outrageous 'Ad Lib On Nippon'. Ellington's piano playing is a delight throughout, and it is breathtaking here. There is also a compelling performance from Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece 15 Jun 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For about forty years I have been aware of this album but never heard it. What a treat. One of the best later Ellingtons, as enjoyable as the magnificent New Orleans Suite. Far East Suite ( a misnomer but Duke is entitled to indulge in misleading titles! ) is beautifully composed and arranged by Ellington and Strayhorn and the numbers, varying in tempo and emotional and descriptive content, cohere into a satisfying whole. Jimmy Hamilton's is particularly striking both as a soloist and in the clarinet led ensembles (with Russell Procope). Hodges and Gonsalves are, as one has become accustomed to expect, produce engaging solos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the master's best 4 Sep 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I first heard this album about twenty years ago on Humphrey Littleton's jazz show on the radio. I immediately bought the LP and loved it and almost wore it out. Not having the means, I had not listened to it for several years so I was delighted to find it had been issued on CD. It was great to re-familiarise myself with this superb album which, in my view is one of the Duke's best. Still fresh and full of surprises. Anyone expecting a 'traditional' big band album might be disappointed but if you prefer something a little more avante garde and jazzy give this a try. I particularly like "Blue Pepper", which has some great middle east influences.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ellington: Far East Suite 2 Jun 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Duke Ellington was both a great band leader as well as an accomplished arranger and composer. This suite demonstrates another dimension he explored and is a must for any who enjoy big band jazz.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime 5 Oct 2006
By Zoner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As a classically trained clarinetist, I hate jazz clarinet, as a rule. But I have to make an exception in Jimmy Hamilton's case on Bluebird of Delhi. His sound is brilliant, mature and confident, and his technique is outstanding. He gives the clarinet a good name - in 1966 of all times. That piece is a highlight in a disc full of highlights.

Far East Suite is delightful from start to finish. Forty years later a lot of it sounds like spy music - maybe James Bond theme music, or maybe Las Vegas lounge style - but that's not a bad thing! Tourist Point of View is laid back, showcasing Paul Gonsalves' amazing tenor sax, tasteful as always.

The world class sax work from Gonsalves and Johnny Hodges continues throughout, but in my eyes Harry Carney deserves special notice. From personal experience I can say that it's hard to make a bari sax sound good, much less sweet or sexy. But Carney does all the above, particularly in track 7, Agra. It is a concerto for bari sax that might change your mind about what the instrument can do.

But then Agra leads into Amad, which is so rhythmically compelling it's hard to sit still listening to it. It is a sinuous fluid demonstration of the Duke's ideas of a rhythm section composed of every instrument in his band - with a typically assertive piano line. Lawrence Brown's trombone shines.

Ad Lib on Nippon is tour de force, and contains some absolutely top shelf clarinet work at the end, amongst its other charms.

The seven bonus tracks on this disc are noteworthy. I've listened to the two bonus Bluebirds more than the others. While I can agree with the original choice, the other two are still great. I think Hamilton was a little off his game on track 12, but track 13 is technically excellent. The Duke chose a bit slower tempo though, and Hamilton was perfect, but less adventurous than in the cut which made the final album. Everyone loves to hear the artists perform, but it's also great to listen to them at work, and these bonus tracks are just that.

And for the trumpet fans, there are brains all over the bandstand in this disc, because these guys blow their heads off repeatedly. I'm pretty sure they played some notes that weren't even invented in 1966.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, but yet another remaster? 16 Aug 2004
By Blues Bro - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The previous version 'special mix' sounded preety good to my ears. This one sounds a little better, but you could do with the 'special mix' version. Some alternate takes were not included here, but they put as much as you can in a one CD album. But if you are buying this album for the first time, this is the version to get.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anorher Jazz 101 must 20 Nov 2008
By Neal Horwitz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
What is the litmus test of good art? It should hold up well-or very well-over time, and one goes back,again and again, to read, or view, or listen, discovering something new each time.
So it is with The Far East Suite, and for those who are not familiar with Ellington's many Suites, a good starting point.
The band was in excellent form, and the songs are ageless. The Strayhorn/Ellington collaborative art form was at its apex.
Time is given to let the musicians stretch, and Hodges even tosses in some blues honking-but everyone is at the top of their game; Gonsalves, Hamilton, Carney, and the unsung hero of the LP, Rufus Jones, who made it swing like mad with outstanding drumming.
By the way, one can now see versions of "Isfahan" and "Agra" on YouTube,allowing another insight to the players; Hodges, as usual, never showing a hint of emotion, Carney with his circular breathing. Amazing players and amazing songs.Mt Harissa, Amad,Blue Pepper..None got much airtime, if at all, but highlights the depth of composition and colour.
One small piece of trivia. Isfahan, (which is pure poetry, and cannot be improved upon) was written by Strayhorn years before the band ever went to the Far East; it was originally called "Elf."
If you don't yet have this, get it, Should be part of everyone's collection of Ellingtonia.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This CD does not come with any liner notes or album notes. 9 Mar 2012
By Leung Wai Chi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This CD does not come with any liner notes or album notes. It doesn't even have a CD serial number and year of issue! I purchased this CD as I needed both the music and the liner notes for my research assignment and I was so disappointed with the missing liner notes. I ended up buying another copy of the CD from amazon.uk which has the liner notes. You need to get the 2003 re-issue, serial number: 82876 55614 2, if you need the original liner notes by Stanley Dance and new liner notes by Stephanie Stein Crease. If you don't need the liner notes, you might as well just get the MP3 download. Do check out the album description of the same title at amazon.ca which indicates, "Packaged in digipak format featuring original cover art & session photographs as well as original & newly commissioned liner notes. Bluebird. 2003." That's the one to get.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars classic 24 Aug 2010
By Bill Your 'Free Form FM Print DJ - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am in no position to judge Duke Ellington's music, or Far East Suite. I barely have a pinky toe in this master's discography. Anatomy of a Murder and Afro Eurasian Eclipse are what I have started my foray into Duke with in the past year.

When, like me, a lover of rock and free jazz, you get used to instruments sticking out. Mile's wha wha trumpet. Coltrane's sax.
This is why it is a little jarring to work your way into Ellington. Far East Suite is a perfect example.

This subtle and sublime music is based on Ellington's tour of the Far East in the early 1960s, and came out in 1966. These are sublime melodies, with each instrument perfectly balanced with all others in Ellington's band. The music works like soft butterscotch, revealing its flavor gently, from inside its silk surface.

I find the same subtly in the theme of the music, given its name. There are, in fact, many Far Eastern elements throughout this wonderful suite. But they are blended into Ellington's style. He smoothly woos you with each new idea, each invention, like a doctor who you expect to give a needle and then find out he already has. The masters refinement is astounding, and brilliant.

I can't say that I am bowled over. I can't say I am blown out of the water. But that is not what this music is designed for, and if wading into Ellington's massive pool of work is a life long, gentle process, I have an inkling the Duke may have planned it that way.
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