Secret Ellington Songs from Saturday Laughter
Duke Ellington wrote over 2,000 compositions. So it should come as no surprise that many of his tunes continue to surface. Case in point are these songs from an aborted 1958 Ellington play entitled Saturday Laughter that were recently rediscovered and recorded. The CD features singers Ian Shaw, Jeffrey Smith, Bob Kindred, and Judi Silvano; saxophonists Joe Lovano and Eric Alexander; and pianist Arturo O'Farrill. With Ellington's music and lyrics by Herb Martin, the music on this is recording largely falls outside of Ellington's trademarked textural colors. There's the Ducal, light-stride cadences on "Only Yesterday" and the mournful "My Home Lies Quiet," which sounds like an extension of the "Far East Suite." But most of tracks have soft electronic tinges, courtesy of Joe Locke's vibraphone and Joe Beck's shimmering guitar lines. The most haunting track is "They Say," a ballad sung by Freddy Cole that features the last recorded performance of Grover Washington Jr., who solos beautifully on soprano sax. --Eugene Holley Jr.