Duke Ellington – Berlin 1959 (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:26:58 minutes | 1,39 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Storyville Records
What we have here is the welcome memento of Duke Ellington and his band’s 1959 European tour. Berlin’s Sportpalast is not a concert hall and during the cursed Nazi reign often was the site of speeches by Hitler and his fellow criminals, but the hall can be said to have been thoroughly purified by sounds of jazz by the time of this concert.
Some observations regarding personnel: An important new voice in the trumpet section was that of Clark Terry, previously with Charlie Barnet and Count Basie, most prominently. He came into his own with Duke but left after feeling that he got little to play other than his feature, Perdido. Aside from Terry, a non-soloing but important lead voice in the trumpet section is that of Andres Merenguito, also known as Fats Ford, who had served in Louis Armstrong’s last big band.
Trombonists Booty Wood and Britt Woodman/ the former great with the plunger mute, the latter great with high notes, were both proof of Duke’s way of finding new voices with personal traits. But the star of the section is Quentin “Butter” Jackson, whose long career included stints with McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, Cab Calloway, and Don Redman, first from 1932 to 1939 and then again for the 1946 European tour that included Copenhagen-first post-war visit by an American jazz band.
Bassist Wendell Marshall, a cousin of the immortal Jimmy Blanton, had some of the family genes with his full, pleasing sound, fine intonation and solid time. Less known is drummer Jimmy Johnson, remarkably effective as a stand-in for the gifted but frequently absent Sam Woodyard (they shared the drum chair for a moment). And then, of course, last but by no possible means least, the Ducal piano, from which he directs like a master conductor and accompanist. As is not always the case with live recordings he has a fine instrument at his disposal in Berlin, but one shortcoming here is the omission of his very personal verbal comments, mainly invocations of the soloists (some can be distantly heard).
We can be sure that the audience left satisfied-and so will you, having spent time in the good hands of a master.
1. Duke Ellington – Black And Tan Fantasy
2. Duke Ellington – Creole Love Call
3. Duke Ellington – The Mooche
4. Duke Ellington – Newport Up
5. Duke Ellington – Such Sweet Thunder
6. Duke Ellington – Sonnet to Hank Cinq
7. Duke Ellington – Medley: Kinda Dukish / Rockin’ In Rhythm
8. Duke Ellington – El Gato
9. Duke Ellington – Flirtibird
10. Duke Ellington – Things Ain’t What They Used To Be
11. Duke Ellington – Skin Deep
12. Duke Ellington – VIP Boogie
13. Duke Ellington – Jam Wih Sam
14. Duke Ellington – St. Louis Blues
15. Duke Ellington – Bill Bailey
16. Duke Ellington – Walkin’ And Singin’ The Blues
17. Duke Ellington – Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
18. Duke Ellington – Do Nothing Till You Her From Me
19. Duke Ellington – I Got It Bad
20. Duke Ellington – In A Sentimental Mood
21. Duke Ellington – Mood Indigo
22. Duke Ellington – I’m Beginning To See The Light
23. Duke Ellington – Sophisticated Lady
24. Duke Ellington – Caravan
25. Duke Ellington – Solitude
26. Duke Ellington – Satin Doll
27. Duke Ellington – Medley: I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart / Don’t Get Around Much Anymore
28. Duke Ellington – Basin Street Blues