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Blues In Orbit CD

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Sept. 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Columbia
  • ASIN: B001U14IQA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 136,021 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product description

ELLINGTON DUKE

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I had always assumed that "Blues in Orbit" was something of a lost Ellington masterpiece having previously had a double LP that featured some recordings from these sessions when I first was getting in to his music as a teenager. The strangeness is compounded by the fact that Gil Evans also issued an album with the same title some ten years later.

Anyone coming to Ellington for the first time and hearing this disc is going to wonder what all the fuss is about. Most of the album was made over the course of two, consecutive midnight sessions where the copyist (and drummer Sam Woodyard) did not turn up. Having just returned from a European tour, this album was produced in a rush with much of the material seemingly composed on the hoof. The "official" material almost entirely consists of blues , the exceptions being a rushed version of "In a mellotone" and Billy Strayhorn's "Smada, the latter being the album's standout arrangement - who Adams was (the title is his name spelt backwards) is not explained in the poor, original liner notes. The famous names in the orchestra are featured with Johnny Hodges and Jimmy Hamilton being particular standouts. However, the lack of attention to orchestration on riff tracks like "Pie eye's blues" and "Three J's Blues" produce an almost casual approach to creative music making and whilst this is somewhat akin to the Hodges album "The big band", the short duration of the tracks means this is not a patch on that album as a blowing session.

The problem of this record is that is was simply a blowing session.
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By os TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Sept. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Probably not one of the more famous Ellington outings but a classic set all the same. Recorded originally in 1958 this album sounds as great today as it did back then as Sony have done a lovely remastering on what was already a pretty good recording. The set also comes with an interesting essay and shots of Duke in the studio a nice bonus for those of us who like that sort of thing.

Ellington is a master of melody, mood and arrangement as 'Blues in Orbit' amply demonstrates. His music drives along but there is always room for subtlety, wit and variety of mood. The blues on this album are cool and sophisticated; the ensemble work cultured and the extemporizing skilful and played with real expressiveness. What could have been an indulgent jam session is a coherent and engaging piece of work: one minute testifying with a gospel like fervour and the next meditative and melancholy before shifting smartly onto some irresistible hard swinging. 'Blues in Orbit' is about a satisfying album of big band jazz as you'll find anywhere.
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Format: Audio CD
Like so many famous jazz albums this was recorded in the middle of the night, which is still working time for so many jazz musicians past and present who are unaware that there is such a commodity as sunshine! This was recorded over two midnight sessions in 1958. The band features many of the great names e.g. Hodges, Gonsalves, Carney, Nance, Woodyard etc. Ellington varied the size of the groups from recording to recording. The main band is the full fifteen musicians, but some tracks have as few as nine.

The main solos fall to Gonsalves, Hodges, Nance (who plays violin on C Jam). Both Ellington and Strayhorn feature on piano. Along with some old favourites like C Jam blues and In A Mellotone, there are a host of new tunes, some I guess with the ink still wet on the manuscript paper. Many of these new tunes are blues, such as the title tune "Blues In Orbit", "Blues In Blueprint" (featuring a name new to me, Matthew Gee on baritone horn, who also plays the lead solo on "Smada").

Although the overall effect of the album is five star, there is one standout track among the "bonus" tracks, namely "Sentimental Lady" (aka "I didn't know about you") with a superb solo by Johnny Hodges.

Overall another great Ellington album
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A minor part of the Ellington discography but very attractive nonetheless. I sometimes think that Ellington really was a miniaturist and some of his best work was on discs like this rather than in the larger suites from later in his life. Of course, a lot of those were really collections of smaller pieces rather than unified wholes.
These pieces are all fairly short, usually 2 or 3 minutes, and none more than 5 minutes in length. A few are by the big band but most are by a contingent with Ray Nance on trumpet, 3 trombones, most of the reeds and rhythm. Nance is probably the solo star and plays superbly. He must have been one of the very best of swing trumpets, with a fiery attack and an almost overtly emotional approach. Here he also plays violin where again hewas a highly individual player. He is almost always on the edge of being over the top but never quite is. A most individual player and these sessions display him to the best advantage.
The trombone solos are mainly by Britt Woodman and Matthew Gee. Woodman was an Ellington stalwart of many years, a player of modernist tendencies, who seemed never to be featured to the extent he should have been. Here he plays well, as does Gee in a similar style, only an occasional Ellingtonian, but very successful here.
The reed section is why the disc gets only 4 stars. Hodges is there, soloing with sublime beauty, but little of Gonsalves is to be heard. Most of the tenor solos are taken by Jimmy Hamilton in a driving throaty style which is exhilarating but misses badly the subtlety Gonsalves would have brought. He (Gonsalves) seems to have been considered as not a true Ellingtonian by the more hidebound of fans but to me he was always one of the more individual Ellington voices.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues never more elegant and varied by the Maestro 7 Oct. 2016
By Scott Hedegard - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When we think of blues, we automatically picture the old acoustic battered guitars the Delta blues giants had to make do with, then electric guitars and a punchy sound that arose when the exodus from sharecropper era Mississippi left the Delta and made the relocation behind Muddy Waters and others to Chicago, Detroit and other blue collar cities that were offering good jobs in the exploding American auto and related industry.
In the hands of Duke Ellington, the blues get the elegance treatment, and how. This genius, one of the greatest composers in American musical history bar none, not only ruled and dictated the terms of jazz for the world, he understood just how closely jazz and blues were - both allowed much space for improvisation, featured solo spots for numerous instruments, and between the two genres defined American music that many still don't understand or appreciate.
"Blues In Orbit" was recorded in two one night sessions in NYC about a year apart, after Ellington and his orchestra or band had played their club date or larger concerts, and got into the studio around midnight and played until sun up, giving us blues like most people who are not Ellington fans have never heard.
This is not really a matter of individual tunes. It's a mindblowing session with more tonal experimentation, Ellington's patented advanced chordal work that created atmosphere that had to be heard to be believed, and the soul of blues the world over, all done in two nights. Given the simplicity of normal blues, it would indeed take true genius to add the level of sophistication and color Ellington does here - the blues and jazz world melt into one, making a beautiful statement that will surprise both blues and jazz lovers. But beware: blues fans who are more casually interested in the dime-a-dozen Hendrix/Vaughan clones out there will not understand the depth Ellington reached. But for those with the appetite and understanding, "Blues in Orbit" is possibly as elegant, far reaching and adventurous the idiom has to offer.
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLY MESMERIZING! 17 April 2017
By Jay M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Recently, upgraded to higher quality SACD player. Though favorite music included Motown, Pop, Rock and Soul from 1960s, Philly soul and Disco, always revered Jazz greats like Duke Ellington. And, based on consistently highly rated reviews, purchased CD.
Am in awe! Fidelity is perfect, stereo sound is wonderful (especially for 1959 recording), there is three-dimensional quality to lifelike instrumentation...
this is how all recordings should sound.
Salut!
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not recommended for listeners who hate the blues. 10 Mar. 2010
By Samuel C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sometimes I think the best response to the question posed by one of Duke's compositions, "What Am I Here For?" is simply: "To listen to the music of Duke Ellington." Whenever I pick up another recording by his band--whether a pre-Strayhorn edition dating back to the Cotton Club days or the Strayhorn-Blanton-Webster edition of the band or the Paul Gonsalves band of Duke's last 20 years--I'm lost to virtually all other music. No one represents the entire history of the art form as well as its prehistory (addressed by James Baldwin in "Sonny's Blues") better than Duke; no one achieves a more democratic, ideal balance between compositional brilliance and individual expressiveness; no sound is more heavenly (i.e. in a non-terrestrial orbit) than that of Duke's brass, woodwind section, or simply the solo voice of Johnny Hodges). But this might be considered a noteworthy achievement if for no other reason than the common meeting ground it stakes out--the elemental 12-bar blues form--for the average listener and the genius of Ellington.

Ellingtonian blues music makes everything else seem shallow, evanescent, unworthy of a listener's precious time--in that sense it surpasses the mundane and reaches the universal regions of the human spirit. There's reassuring recognition and familiarity on each track along with continual surprise--even on the alternate takes. The program begins with a blues sermon preached by a tenor player who sounds more like Ben Webster than Paul Gonsalves. The program notes suggest it's the tenor of Jimmy Hamilton, who sounds superb on the instrument on this date. He's answered by perhaps as tight a trio of trombone plungers as has ever been assembled, comprising Booty Wood, the incredible Britt Woodman, and Quentin Jackson (modernist Matthew Gee rounds out the section, which was without Lawrence Brown on this occasion). And not least of all there's Duke's piano--an assimilation of the styles that had preceded him, from James P., Fatha, Fats, and Willie the Lion, to those--Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver--who absorbed some of the sparks created by Duke's ever evocative, seminal playing, which I now realize was as responsible for what happened at Newport in 1956 during those 28 immortal choruses as was Paul Gonsalves himself.

This one is going for prices that make it possible to pick up 5-6 for the price of one and to give them to anyone who will listen. Or use the spare change to grab up "Such Sweet Thunder " (almost as good as reading Shakespeare), "Ellington Uptown" (the best version of "A Train" ever recorded plus Louis Bellson playing his own "Skin Deep") and "Three Suites" (the biggest bargain in recorded music, with Duke's brilliant revision of Tchaikovsky merely one of three masterworks).
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favourite DUKE 19 Mar. 2017
By Karl Thorsson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is OUT OF THIS WORLD.... I started listening in my living room and by track three I was already sitting at the piano and jamming with THE DUKE.... one of my favourite DUKE albums
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Daddy is Smiling Down on Me from Heaven .... 1 Dec. 2012
By Max - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
and saying, "Now you are getting it!", before he turns back to the jam in a smokey basement that is taking place before I was born.

This recording makes me feel like I am eight years old and have been allowed to stay up late
with the grown-ups, as long as I am very quiet and listen. Delicious.
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