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Still going strong late in his career,
This review is from: New Orleans Suite (Audio CD)
Although Duke Ellington re-recorded a lot of his early hits later in his career he still continued to record new material. This was often in the form of suites - some of which are better than others. New Orleans suite (1970) was one of his last attempts and is an interesting album with flashes of the old magic. Some of the old stars are heard on the album and are still playing well, it was Johnny Hodges last recording, but the younger players in the band also give it a slight contemporary feel, especially with regard to the drumming.
My favourite track is Portrait of Wellman Braud, a tribute to one of the early Ellington bassists, it's driven by a superb bass line which unfortunately isn't quite executed right. The track does however features some piercing muted trumpet and sly clarinet work that are reminiscent of early Ellington. Second line and Thanks for the beautiful land of the delta have a certain edginess to them that works well. Bourbon Street Jingling Jollies highlights Ellington's skill in writing relaxed mournful melodies and show's that he was still willing to experiment towards the end of his career as it features a flute soloist - a first for Ellington. Overall the album is engaging with some strong writing and interesting playing: a late-Ellington album that is definately worth a listen.