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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uptown, March 24, 2006
Bomojaz (South Central PA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Uptown (Audio CD)
Recorded over a number of dates between December 1951 and December 1952, this album contains an array of material, from the traditional to the fairly experimental. THE MOOCHE, a tune that goes back to the 1920s, features some beautiful clarinet work by Jimmy Hamilton. PERDIDO, written by Juan Tizol, is another older piece and shows off Clark Terry's lyrical playing as he solos above a punctuating rhythm. SKIN DEEP is a Louis Bellson drum feature, and 'A' TRAIN has a rich vocal by Betty Roche along with a nice Paul Gonsalves solo where the tempo slows.

The two suites included are partial successes, with TONE PARALLEL TO HARLEM slightly better than THE CONTROVERSIAL SUITE. HARLEM is a multi-faceted piece, very ambitious in its constant tempo and directional changes. It's a long piece and just about everyone gets a solo taste. (Toscanini had directed its premier at Carnegie Hall earlier in 1951.) THE CONTROVERSIAL SUITE is a mixed bag; in two parts, the first part culminates in a swinging Dixieland pattern with terrific soprano sax work by Russell Procope. The second part out-Wagners Kenton, and if it's supposed to be a parody it lacks the necessary humor. The band was minus alto sax great Johnny Hodges at this time, and Ellington seems to compensate for the loss by featuring the brass section more than usual. Interesting music by the maestro from the early 1950s.
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Uptown by Duke Ellington (Audio CD - 1990)
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