- Audio CD (11 Mar. 2013)
- Number of Discs: 3
- Format: Box set
- Label: Acrobat
- ASIN: B00BKUO1OK
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 293,268 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Rare Live Recordings 1952-53 Box set
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Rare Live Recordings 1952-53, Vol. 2 [Clean]
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The recordings in this collection come from the Ackerman tapes, an archive held in Stanford University in California comprising live jazz recordings, many previously unreleased. The recordings come from four separate live performances by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, with three from Jan.-Apr. 1952. The entirety of CD1 and the first two tracks of CD2 comprise a concert on 5th January 1952 at New Yorks Metropolitan Opera House, which is previously unreleased in any form, apart from one track. Tracks 3-9 of CD2 are from a performance at an unknown venue during March 1952 in the US North-west, and Tracks 10-18 od CD2 and Tracks 1-4 of CD3 are from a show at The Armory, Yakima, Washington State on the Dukes birthday 29th April 1952. Several tracks from these performances have never been released, while the remainder have only ever been on vinyl. The remainder of CD 3 comprises 1953 recordings are from a dance date at McElroys Ballroom in Portland Oregon, a favourite gig of Ellingtons during his regular tours of the north-west around his birthday, which have appeared on vinyl and D, but not, we think, all on one CD. In all, of the 45 tracks, 20 are previously unreleased, 15 have only appeared on vinyl, while the other 10 have been on various CDs, now generally unavailable, we believe.Some of the recordings include Ellingtons characteristic and entertaining links and introductions which add a unique flavour and atmosphere to the collection.It is a snapshot of a great orchestra under an iconic leader during a period when the big band market had been hit by post-war austerity and the emergence of bebop and R&B small groups, and one-night stands like these were its bread-and-butter work. We are sure that it will provide a welcome addition to the collections of Duke Ellington and big band enthusiasts.
Top customer reviews
Some marvelous performances as to be expected even those that are less than great are still better than almost anything else from other players of that era or much later.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The early fifties proved challenging for the Ellington organization. The sun had set on big band popularity. Individual singers were the popular fashion and it was these artists who dominated the best seller charts and in turn, were headlining sellout performances.
Duke Ellington's orchestra was experiencing just the opposite. TV and radio appearance had dried up, record sales were dismal and the big concert venues were few and far between. Duke could have chosen to fold the band and create a smaller musical entity. He also could have opted to strictly concentrate on composing. His soundtrack work was in high demand for films and TV productions.
However, Duke appreciated the value of performing his work through an orchestra format. He also respected and appreciated the individual artists who were members of his band. No one could interpret his material better then these legendary musicians and Duke was determined to keep the group working.
This commitment was fulfilled by endless dates of venues consisting primarily of auditoriums, clubs, dance halls and ballrooms. The material contained within this box set is drawn from these locations. It should be noted that several of his key artists departed from the band within a year of these recordings. These performers included Louie Bellson, Betty Roche, Jaun Tizol and Willie Smith.
One could argue that Dukes tenacity in keeping the band active throughout the first half of the fifties paid a major dividend by 1956. Their performance chops, highly polished throughout this period, culminated in the breakthrough 1956 Newport jazz concert. That show and the related concert album put Duke back in the major league of music for the remainder of his career.
The music contained on these three CDs is some of the best live Ellington material captured on tape. Louie Belson contributes several originals including,"Ting a Ling". "Phalanges"," The Hawk Talks' and "Skin Deep". His drum solos, particularly on "Skin Deep" is remarkable.
Billy Strayhorn compositions are well represented and meticulously played. These numbers include "Johnny Come Lately", "Chelsea Bridge", "Midriff", "Passion Flower" and, of coarse, "Take The A Train".
Jim Garrison, a talented but somewhat under appreciated blues singer, provides some soulful vocals including "Solitude", " Summertime"," Strayhorn's"My Little Brown Book" and a belting R&B version of Ellington's "Good Girl Blues".
Duke leaves plenty of room to feature his most popular musicians. Ray Nance brings the house down with his vocal on "Basin Street Blues". His violin solos are also captured on" Sophisticated Lady" and"C Jam Blues". Paul Gonsalves, Cat Anderson, Harry Carney and Clark Terry, among others, are left plenty of space to offer their winning solos.
Last but not least, is the Duke himself. He can be heard throughout introducing the songs and offering generous praise for all his performing artists. His humor is infectious and his keyboard playing is flawless.
The enclosed fourteen page booklet, authored by Paul Watts, captures the background of each of the ballroom concerts and provides detailed listings of each play list and performer.
This box set is highly recommended to all Ellington fans.
But this 3 disc set has many errors in the liner notes. If they had checked with the Ellington authority; Ellingtonia: The Recorded Music of Duke Ellington by W.E. Timner they would see that the correct location for the 1/5/1952 recordings is Carnegie Hall not the Metropolitan Opera, as listed in these notes. It figures because Duke did an annual concert at Carnegie Hall each year in January from 1943 onwards. He was the only recording artist to do an annual concert there. Plus the liner notes to this Acrobat set show a picture of Carnegie Hall not the Metro. The Metro is a good is a good 7 blocks north of Carnegie Hall.
Ellington fans (everyone on planet Earth?) get the Timner book!