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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars After all, 25 Jun. 2011
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ...And His Mother Called Him Bill (Audio CD)
The music of Duke Ellington is like a vast warm lake whose far shores can only be glimpsed, into which it is a noble pleasure to plunge whenever one is in the mood. The Duke was a unique bandleader, a dandy, a sophisti-cat, a man of discerning taste, a ladies` man, and a consummate musician to his fingertips. The best players in jazz passed through the ranks of the Ellington orchestra, and many of them are here on this pitch-perfect tribute to the elusive Billy Strayhorn, composer of all these pieces, who had just died of cancer. "Bill" was the Estragon to Duke`s Vladimir, if you will, the moonlight to his sunshine.
Ellngton chose a few of Strayhorn`s lesser known compositions for this loving record of a creative friendship (refusing, so the excellent sleevenotes tell us, to play Lush Life, for reasons that are not made too clear) but giving us the beautiful Day Dream and a final composition, from his hospital bed, the pointedly-titled Blood Count, both of which contain heartbreaking alto sax solos by the great Johhny Hodges, as does the slow and sad After All.
There is a solo rendition of Lotus Blossom by Duke himself, recorded as the band were packing up, with their voices audible in the background, and is a fascinating document in itself. A trio version, with Harry Carney on baritone sax, is heard as one of the extra tracks on this lovingly assembled remastered reissue. Among the welcome extras are the languidly lovely My Little Brown Book, with gorgoeus solos from various members of this elite band.
There must have been an aura of sadness in the studio at these `67 dates, and a certain melancholia does pervade these tracks, but the musicians play with a disarming delicacy, almost a lightness, as though playing at the composer`s graveside.
This is one of the Duke`s most essential albums, which is saying something. The band play like angels, and, as Ellington says at the end of in his deeply moving May `67 eulogy, reprinted here: "God bless Billy Strayhorn". Amen to that.
After all, a beautiful tribute.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent tribute, 23 Feb. 2004
By A Customer
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No Lush Life, no A Train, no Chelsea Bridge. When Duke decided to pay tribute to Billy Strayhorn shortly after his death, he included less known numbers but made a fantastic tribute to his arranger. The Ellington band at its best is difficult to beat, but on this occasion they were playing for a special reason and and they excelled themselves. Strayhorn's last composition and arrangement was written in hospital shortly before he died. I defy anyone not to get goose pimples from hearing Hodges playing it.
An absolute must. If anyone tells you that big bands were dead in the sixties, just play them this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential, 3 Sept. 2011
By 
os - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ...And His Mother Called Him Bill (Audio CD)
Most jazz fans with any appreciation of Ellington will probably put this set in perhaps the top 5 of the his output. From the opening bars of 'Snibor' to the final track- the bonus addition of 'Lotus Blossom', the listener is in for a treat. This is Ellington and his crew at their very best: powerful swinging performances, great solos and moments of real sensitivity and beauty put at the service of some very tasty arrangements and memorable tunes. My particular faves include 'My Little Brown Book' and the solo piano version of 'Lotus Blossom', but why take my word? Find out for yourself what is on offer. I can guarantee a genuinely fulfilling and enjoyable musical experience. And just for once, the additional tracks included in this reissue add rather then lessen the listening pleasure.

No finer tribute to Billy Strayhorn -could be imagined. Remastered and nicely packaged with informative sleevenotes, this issue would be a great addition to any music lover's library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, 14 Sept. 2010
By 
R. R. Thompson (oxford,uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ...And His Mother Called Him Bill (Audio CD)
Probably the best Ellington studio recording of the sixties.Everyone on top form here out of respect for Billy Strayhorn. Wonderful Hodges,Cootie,and Cat Anderson.The guest appearence on some numbers of Clark Terry adds to the
high level of virtuosity.The Duke steals it with an end of session solo on Lotus Blossom.Just buy it and enjoy it for a million years
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, 24 Feb. 2013
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I wanted music by Billy Strayhorn and this provided a good selection. The quality of the recording was good as well
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5.0 out of 5 stars There are two versions of the wonderful Lotus Blossom, 17 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: ...And His Mother Called Him Bill (Audio CD)
Recorded just a few months after Billy Strayhorn's death in 1967, Duke Ellington and his orchestra got together to record some of Strayhorn's gorgeous compositions. There are two versions of the wonderful Lotus Blossom, one of them a Duke Ellington piano solo and the excellent Raincheck and Smada also make two appearances. The playing is excellent throughout. Another great album by Duke Ellington and his men.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Duke Ellington - master of music, 24 Feb. 2015
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Fabulous. Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorne at their best.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Duke and Swee'Pea, 4 Jun. 2009
By 
J. R. Bailey (Dublin 6, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: ...And His Mother Called Him Bill (Audio CD)
Beautiful disk - especially Lotus Blossom - illustrating the depth of the link between Ellington and his closest collaborator. Never can a single piano have sounded so full and so complete and in the hands of a maestro.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And his mother called him Bill, 24 Nov. 2009
Goods were absolutely as described, were well packaged and despatched very quickly. The cd was one that I had been after for a while. I would purchase from this source in the future and have no hesitation in recommending them. Happy shopping !!
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