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Such Sweet Thunder

Duke EllingtonAudio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

Price: $7.05 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 1, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
  • ASIN: B0012GMZMC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,388 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Such Sweet Thunder
2. Sonnet for Caesar
3. Sonnet to Hank Cinq
4. Lady Mac
5. Sonnet in Search of a Moor
6. The Telecasters
7. Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)
8. Sonnet for Sister Kate
9. The Star-Crossed Lovers
10. Madness in Great Ones
11. Half the Fun (aka Lately)
12. Circle of Fourths
13. The Star-Crossed Lovers (aka Pretty Girl) [Stereo LP Master][#][*]
14. Circle of Fourths [Stereo LP Master][#][*]
15. Suburban Beauty [Master Take][*]
16. A-Flat Minor [Preferred Take][*]
17. Café au Lait [Preferred Take][*]
18. Half the Fun [Alternate Take][*]
19. Suburban Beauty [Alternate Take][*]
20. A-Flat Minor [#][*][Outtake]
See all 22 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More than a regrettable mistake. October 22, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
[Update: The 2008 reissue is the same as the previous edition--i.e. the original recording's most memorable moment, Clark Terry's/Puck's vocalized trumpet proclaiming "Oh what fools these mortals be," is omitted, even though the included earlier commentaries by Irving Townsend and Bill Berry both single it out. Instead the purchaser is subjected to Phil Schaap's tedious, all-but-unreadable screed detailing his quest to uncover and preserve every precious detail of the session, including ambient sound! Not even a mention of the unconscionable switcheroo (whatever happened to the original "Up and Down"?). Very discouraging. But give Schaap and company credit for the miraculous restoration (and improvement) of "Ellington at Newport '56." As for "Such Sweet Thunder," keep scouring the auctions for a decent LP version.]

There was a time when the producers of records actually knew something about the music itself. The vinyl Columbia albums, for example, frequently included copious musical analysis supplied by George Avakian and other resident producer-critics. As listeners, we may think we know what we like, then realize we tend to like what we know. Reading liner notes, for some reason, often proved a more effective way of learning things about jazz and its creators than pulling books out of the library.

The point is that the omission of Clark Terry's celebrated Shakespearean quotation/Puck impersonation from this edition of one of Ellington's recorded treasures is more than an oversight. It's a flagrant disregard for the real listener, an insult to the makers and custodians of this music, and a stunning, shameless display of sheer ignorance. It demonstrates the complete "disconnect" between the product and its exploitive marketers.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lord what fools these producers be. September 21, 2000
Format:Audio CD
Unless you have heard the vinyl cut of Up and Down you will never know how sad it is that it is not on this cd. But...all of that aside This is an amazing creation...a sensuous, beautiful combination of two artforms into a third. This almost stands on its own as a new form, the musical interpretation of art done in the most gut-wrenching impulsive way. This is intellectual, but so soul filled. Here are two of my favorite moments...Up and Down is still awesome, a fugue for 7 voices including Clark Terry who plays puck. Terry is one the distinctive voices of the trumpet, and he alone is worth the listen. But above all, lock me in a room and play me Star Crossed Lovers, the romeo and Juliet piece, After Johnny Hodges first verse as Juliet there is this orchestral cascade which is the heart stoppingly beautiful moment of life, first love, life itself. This is such a stupendous journey. You would be a foolish mortal not to at least check it out.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous music and remastering marred by mistake June 13, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
The sound quality on this album, easily one of Ellington's finest suites, is top-notch -- particularly when compared with the older French import of several years ago.
However, the unlabeled alternate take of "Up and Down" sticks out as an unfortunate, embarrassing oversight on Columbia/Legacy's part. The fact that the new liner notes mention Clark Terry's "famous" musical quotation, which is not even present in this take, is especially glaring.
Ellingtonians beware.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Columbia-Legacy commits an unpardonable sin May 30, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Columbia Legacy has taken one of its greatest treasures, Duke Ellington's "Such Sweet Thunder", and reissued only an alternate take for "Up and Down...", which will undoubtedly leave new listeners wondering just exactly what "famous quotation" referred to in the liner notes Clark Terry actually plays. For their benefit, it is "Lord, what fools these mortals be", and for the time being the phrase can only describe Columbia's engineers and quality control personnel. (It took them three tries to get the reissue of Miles Davis' "Miles Ahead" straight.)
Duke would get five stars if the album consisted of nothing but alternate takes, but Columbia gets no stars for its sloppiness.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album marred by glaring blunder September 11, 2001
Format:Audio CD
As someone who bought the original vinyl of Such Sweet Thunder when it was first released, I looked forward to the specially remastered job with extra cuts to celebrate Duke's centenary. But with all the trouble and technology, all the extra takes and odds and ends, how could the producer manage to leave out the classic, definitive take of a classic movement from the suite - Up and Down ..., where Clark Terry pronounces on trumpet at its conclusion: "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" The liner notes proceed as if this original take were on the CD, but what we have is a vastly inferior take without the end-quote.
I have read numerous reviews from the most learned jazz experts since 1999 and not one has identified this obvious error. And I have read of no apology to collectors from Columbia Legacy for this "capital offence" against the memory of Duke.
Aside from this gripe, this is a magnificent remastering of one of Duke's best extended works which should be in every self-respecting jazz collection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare would've loved it May 5, 2007
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Be jealous of me - I own CD Col 469140 2, which was an earlier reissue that I bought somewhere in Europe. Needless to say, it has the right take of Up And Down...Look for it! This is Duke and Billy's finest writing together - from the swagger of the title track, with its hidden references to Birmingham Breakdown and Jumpin' Punkins, and its use of Duke's "African" motto theme (check out Dance #5 from Liberian Suite) to the very particular decadent elegance of Lady Mac (note the use of Procope's alto). And then one of Duke's very best usages of Clark Terry in that great piece of musical humor, Up And Down, and his best - ever piece for Cat Anderson, the stunning Madness in Great Ones - one of Duke's most "cutting edge" pieces (though I have to admit I don't love the climax - it feels a little overblown). It seems that no one but myself has ever heard some slight nods towards Gil Evans in this suite. Something in the very particular transparency of the scoring - the lightness of the brass writing. Some sonorities...I could see them feeling it. But whatever, this is a masterpiece. One should expect nothing less from Duke, although now that we're living in the age of Ellington hagiography, where (albeit brilliant) sketches like Afro - Eurasian Eclipse are treated like the second coming of Ko-Ko, I think the critical standard is a little low in general. But put that all aside - this CD is a triumph.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Genuine Must-Have
This recording is the sin-qua-non of Ellington's recordings. The "must-haves" of The Duke's discography are indeed numerous, but this one heads the list.
Published 1 month ago by Bob Drew
5.0 out of 5 stars It's The Duke. There aren't enough stars.
Five Stars for "Such Sweet Thunder."

Don't know enough to say anything more than I like this music. Ellington is tops.
Published 14 months ago by Desert Dandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Puck quote
If you're looking for the famous Puck quote, it was left intact on this digital version:
Up And Down, Up And Down (I Will lead Them Up And Down)
The sound quality isn't... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Devin Porter
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Album
I got this disc several weeks ago and have listened to it many times since then. It is genuinely great (at least in my book), and I'm writing this review because an album this... Read more
Published on August 13, 2012 by C Dub
5.0 out of 5 stars Puck's Quote IS on CD
About 15 years ago, I bought a CBS import CD of this album. After reading all these reviews, I just played it to make sure I'm right. Read more
Published on March 1, 2011 by chris35
3.0 out of 5 stars Such Sweet Music
This album by Duke Ellington, was quite amazing. Duke's extensive knowledge of the big band and how it functions harmonically is quite breathtaking. Read more
Published on May 21, 2009 by Matthew Benavidez
5.0 out of 5 stars Another huge disappointment
[The pictured Spanish edition finally arrived. Despite the advertising, it's not the Columbia LP version with CT/Puck's famous quotation at the end. Read more
Published on September 18, 2008 by Samuel Chell
5.0 out of 5 stars Out on a limb? The greatest Jazz album?
<Reference the LP version> I've argued this is the greatest jazz album while conceding there are many perfect works - Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue" at the top. Read more
Published on December 23, 2007 by D. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Ellington and the Bard
This is Duke Ellington's suite in tribute to Shakespeare. Most of the selections are inspired by a particular character (Othello, Caesar, Henry V, for example), and most feature... Read more
Published on March 25, 2006 by Bomojaz
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Duke Ellington's Most Intriguing Suite...
This review is an excerpt from my "So You'd Like To..." guide called, "Explore the Music of Duke Ellington: Part I. Read more
Published on February 2, 2006 by J. B.
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