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Duke Elegant

4.0 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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Mac "Dr. John" Rebennack playing songs from the canon of Duke Ellington is as natural as the break of day. But the gris-gris king interprets Ellington in a way unlike anyone else. "Mood Indigo," arranged for Dr. John's six-man New Orleans group, takes on a fresh, heartfelt immediacy with the good doctor's vocals and piano locked into a relaxed groove. He sings another slice of essential Ellingtonia, "Do Nothing 'til You Hear from Me," with a lighthearted nonchalance that epitomizes the worthiest New Orleans performers. Dr. John packages snippets of his keyboard playing as panaceas for the soul on a funked-up interpretation of "Caravan," even spinning off on a "Wade in the Water" tangent before wrapping up the song. But with so many, many Ellington nuggets to dust off for reinterpretation, one wonders why Dr. John elected to go with popular numbers that get covered again and again. To his credit, he does serve up the lesser-known "The Flaming Sword," where his piano is luminous in the Calypso fashion of Professor Longhair, and he offers delightful, fonkified updates of the Ellington obscurities "On the Wrong Side of the Railroad Tracks" and "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'." --Frank-John Hadley
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 23, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note
  • Run Time: 66 minutes
  • ASIN: B00002MFC1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,594 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By William J. Deangelis on February 16, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Duke Elegant" is a compellation of Duke Ellington songs and a tribute to a great American musician, composer and showman. It is also one of the best CD's ever put out by Dr. John, a remarkable talent in his own right. This effort has much of what Dr. John has done so well in the past -- but it also represents a breakthrough of sorts.
I have greatly admired much of Dr. John's past work. While he has extraordinary musical range, he is often at his best performing his own renditions of classic American songs. These, for me, have been most successful when he stays reasonably close to standard treatments, straying just enough to add his own distinctively subtle nuances. His versions of "I'm confessin' That I Love You", "Careless Love", "More Than You Know", and "Candy" are of this type and are remarkably successful. Much the same can be said for some of his more notable duets: "Makin' Whoppee" (with Ricky Lee Jones), "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" (with Harry Connick Jr.), and "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?" (with BB King). His inconceivably joyful "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" is the best I have ever heard anywhere. It should be played at every ballpark in America.
Until this CD, I have not been as impressed with Dr. John's more daring and experimental interpretations of older songs. My feeling was, that his less conventional interpretations simply get too far away from what is great in the original material. (It's possible, of course, that I just don't understand what he is doing.) I've liked some of his own work too, but not as much as his less unconventional treatments of older classics.
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By A Customer on February 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Wow! This is a fun, happy cd. Whenever I listen to it I feel a smile on my face & a glow. Dr. John has taken some of Ellington's best-known compositions & flavored them with his New Orleans spice to come up with a sublime concoction. Some of the previous reviews have better expressed the joys of this cd so I won't reiterate them. I'd just like to add that this cd is a worthy addition to the collection of any fan of jazz, blues, the Duke or Dr. John. It has been excellently recorded, the band is tight & Dr. John's piano is perfect. His voice on the non-instrumental tracks is at its' raspy best.
What I particularly enjoyed was the funkiness. Never has the Duke sounded so fun!
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Format: Audio CD
words don't describe the joy you will feel when experiencing the amazing music here.do yourself a favor and buy this disc.this disc transcends any "jazz" or "blues" labelling. simply a timeless, uptempo slice of heaven. way to go mac. your love for the duke comes shining through.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD absolutely shines! The Doc's arrangements and personal stylings on "Don't Get Around Much," "Mood Indigo," "Perdido," and "Satin Doll," and "Solitude" are fabulous - he brings his own kind of elegance to the Duke's masterpieces and makes them his own. I am a huge fan of Dr. John's but I don't think you need to be to take great pleasure in listening to this awesome CD. It's essential to your collection: perfect for dinner parties, dates, and just groovin' around the house.
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Format: Audio CD
The Doctor's take on the Ellington songbook is as unexpected as it is inspired. Dr. John puts his unique stamp on old favorites like "It Don't Mean a Thing" and "Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me," while rarities "Wrong Side of the Railroad Tracks" and "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'" manage to sound completely new in his "Pure Fonk-i-Fied" versions. His take on "Mood Indigo" has become my personal favorite version of this well-worn classic, with his trademark piano beautifully underscoring the melody, and his rollicking version of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" is both fresh and very funny. I have only two quibbles with this album. First, most of the selections are a bit over-long: most are over 5 and several over 6 minutes long. This gives the album a pace that is a bit too leisurely for its own good. Second, the latter half of the album is given over to instrumentals: while the musicianship is top-notch as always, these should have been interspersed instead of placed all at the end (but that's why they invented CD shuffle-play). There is also a rare lapse into cheese with a lame version of "Perdido." However, most of this album works gorgeously and will please fans of both THE DOC and THE DUKE.
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Format: Audio CD
Being a fan of the "Afterglow" Dr. John more so than the "cajun swamp master" one, I have to give this cd five gold stars. Yes, there are several Duke tribute cd's available on the store shelves but you can't be without this one. The Dr. puts on a performance that is in my opinion, perhaps his best ever. Try it you'll like it.
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Format: Audio CD
Without so much as seeing a track listing for the album, the very idea of Dr. John releasing an album on Blue Note sent chills of anticipation up and down my spine. The concept of the King of New Orleans piano paying tribute to one of the all-time greatest modern pianists gave me another little shiver. For fans of either Sir Duke or The Doc, this album does not disappoint in the least. Mac Rebennack's self-produced latest effort manages to be faithful to Ellington's originals, while at the same time offering long-time fans the funky guitar licks and bass lines that have become synonymous with the name Dr. John. Furthermore, his mastery of the Hammond B-3 (that funkiest of keyboards) has never been more in evidence than it is on this release; the organ break in "It Don't Mean A Thing" and opening bars of "Thing's Ain't What They Used To Be" [sic] are among the album's brightest of highlights. His piano work, too, is a worthy and elegant tribute to Duke Ellington. My only suggestion would be a bit more accent on the virtuoso aspects of the playing. Dr. John has a wonderfully evocative voice (think a melodious Johnny Most on karaoke night), but we've been far too long between instrumental albums. Among my favorite Dr. John releases is Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack, on which he performs his own compositions unaccompanied on piano with (almost) no vocal cuts. When I first got news of this album, I had hoped for a similar approach. Which is not to say that I'm unhappy with the album; voxless tracks such as "Perdido" and the aforementioned ""Thing's Ain't What They Used To Be" are marvelous showcases for his talent. They also underscore the superfluousness of the vocals on the majority of the other tracks.Read more ›
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