- Audio CD (10 May 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Columbia Legacy
- ASIN: B0000257FK
- Other Editions: MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,123 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Such Sweet Thunder
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Such Sweet Thunder was, like Black, Brown and Beige and the later Far East Suite and other works of the late-1950s and on, a long-form study broken into identifiable miniatures that could stand alone as tunes. But this one was far more unlikely than Ellington and co-composer Billy Strayhorn's other suites, with its focus on characters developed by William Shakespeare. Pieces were scripted for both centuries-old characters and Ellington band members; for example, Paul Gonsalves's tenor sax and Johnny Hodges's alto parry as a musical Romeo and Juliet on "Star-Crossed Lovers". Surely this description of the CD makes it sound stiff, even pretentious, but the music gives the lie to such an assumption. Ellington was a master of sectional polyphony, making sure his band's sections swung individually and then in tandem with the other sections, creating a powerful, sometimes swirling swing. But he had Strayhorn, who was also a master of creating moods and ambient textures. And that's where this session becomes fascinating, in the moments when the group creates something other than rhythmic propulsion, standard harmony or even focused melody. Rounding out the original LP issue--which accounts for only half of this CD's length--are a host of alternate takes, three of them wholly or partially unreleased until this set. --Andrew Bartlett
Top Customer Reviews
Aided by the usual pack of great players - Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves... - the big band gives a richness of emotion, wide array of tones and musical innuendo;
something for every Ellington fan, recommendable to fans of swing and modern jazz alike.
The bonus tracks give additional pleasure.
On a more general note, I do find it frustrating to hear some jazz fans describe Ellingtons best as being over come the 1940s. This is absolutely untrue. Albums like this, along with Anatomy of a Murder, the Far East Suite and the New Orleans Suite, show how Ellington had matured as a composer and how he could write for the individual musicans in his orchestra, all of whom, when they wanted to be, were amoung the finest to play thier respective instruments.
If you have never heard this music before i think you will be suprised. If you have heard it before, this release, with its bonus tracks and informative liner notes, is certainly worth the money. Enjoy!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Liked it but not appropriate for me to comment for non-expertsPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer