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In the liner notes to this reissue of Duke's 1961 LP, Joe Goldberg says, "If Ellington did nothing but play the piano, he would be a giant." Duke wows with I Can't Get Started; Cong-Go; Body and Soul; Summertime; Springtime in Africa , and more-including eight bonus recordings from '57!
Duke Ellington's piano style influenced generations of pianists, from Thelonious Monk to Randy Weston. This 1961 trio recording, with his orchestra's rhythm section of drummer Sam Woodyard and Aaron Bell, clearly unveils the maestro's powerful touch, black-and-tan chords, and unstoppable swing, all often overshadowed in the work of his bigger bands. The standard "Body and Soul" shows Ellington's debt to James P. Johnson's Harlem stride style, while "Blues for Jerry," recalls Count Basie's Kansas City grooves. "Cong-go" masterfully marries Nigerian highlife and Cuban congorhythms, while Gershwin's "Summertime" and "Springtime in Africa" become surprising, evocative tone poems that foreshadow the avant-garde abstractions of the '70s. There's also a deeply personal rendering of Billy Strayhorn's "Lotus Blossom," which was not included on the original LP. The last six bonus tracks come from a pair of 1957 sessions with Jimmy Woode on bass. All in all, this disc is a worthy addition to Ellington's other keyboard classics, Money Jungle and Piano Reflections. --Eugene Holley, Jr.
Ian so glad that they remaster these old albums. I put this on my CD player and I could here every sound. From breathing to snare brushed. I will deffenetly buy more. Read morePublished on February 13, 2013 by andy
Duke Ellington occasionally referred to himself as a "pencil cat," presumably because of his acumen as/fondness of being a composer and/or bandleader. Read morePublished on November 6, 2011 by Shemp-Masta-Flash
The Duke's skills as a pianist while great, were exceeded by his nuanced treatment of the music. As a solo player he reflected his "stride" background, but in other ways he was... Read morePublished on January 2, 2009 by Barry A. Hudson
As one of the most important musicians of the last century Duke Ellington is rightly famous for the Orchestra he led for so many decades. Read morePublished on November 30, 2007 by S J Buck