An excellent WSJ article on Duke Ellington (by Nat Hentoff, former Village Voice music critic) has me all excited about a new box set: The Duke Box.
Here’s Hentoff’s comments:
"I now have a sense of what heaven could be like. For those of us
for whom Duke Ellington is rejuvenatingly contemporary, Storyville — the
legendary Danish label, a cornucopia of ageless jazz — has released "The Duke
Box," available on Amazon.com and in record stores. The 1940s Ellington
orchestra (his most exhilarating) is heard entirely in "live" performances — in
dance halls (where, as Duke told me, the dancers became part of the music),
nightclubs, concert halls, and on radio remotes from around the country.
In the 40-page booklet — with photographs by Herman Leonard and
William Gottlieb, masters of decisive jazz moments — Dan Morgenstern notes that
the sound of Ellington "live" is more vividly realistic than "the dead
(non-resonant) studios of that time." (Those studio recordings also do remain
essential because Duke insisted on no more than two or three takes a song for
maximum immediacy.) But, as I can attest from having been at some of the dance
halls and concerts, Ellington and his wondrously distinctive sidemen were most
memorably heard in person."
The WSJ was kind enough to move the entire article over to free WSJ as a courtesy to the weekend linkfest (Thanks, Dave!).
C Jam Blues (which sounds an awful lot like Duke’s Place)
Ellington’s Band Is Heavenly In These ‘Live’ ’40s Recordings
WSJ, March 28, 2007; Page D11