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Tag: Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington – Take the A Train (2017) [Official Digital Download DSF DSD128/5.64MHz + FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz]

Duke Ellington – Take the A Train (2017)
DSD128 (.dsf) 1 bit/5,6 MHz | Time – 29:05 minutes | 3,11 GB
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 29:05 minutes | 555 MB
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | Genre: Jazz | © 2xHD

Take the “A” Train is the vibrant signature composition of Duke Ellington, the most important composer in the history of jazz, also a rare bandleader who held his large group together for almost 50 years. It is quite impossible for one album to capture the full flavour and rich diversity of Duke Ellington’s music and orchestra. The eight tracks here offer a remarkably well-balanced sample of the prolific repertoire – the immortal compositions, the arresting arrangements, the outstanding soloists and, not least, the distinctive solo work of the piano player, Edward Kennedy Ellington, the Duke who became King of Orchestral Jazz.

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Duke Ellington – Berlin 1959 (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

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.

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Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – A Drum Is a Woman (1957) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – A Drum Is a Woman (1957)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 47:48 minutes | 1,07 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Columbia – Legacy

Duke Ellington’s fanciful tale of Carribee Joe and his drum, which evolved into a woman known as Madam Zajj (and a very abstract telling of the evolution of jazz) became a television special in the late ’50s but does not translate all that well to record. Dominated by vocals and narration, the music often plays a backseat to the story, which is worth hearing twice at the most. – Scott Yanow

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Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – …And His Mother Called Him Bill (1968/2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – …And His Mother Called Him Bill (1968/2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 44:23 minutes | 1,63 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RCA – Legacy

When Billy Strayhorn died of cancer in 1967, Duke Ellington was devastated. His closest friend and arranger had left his life full of music and memories. As a tribute, Ellington and his orchestra almost immediately began recording a tribute to Strayhorn, using the late arranger’s own compositions and charts. The album features well-known and previously unrecorded Strayhorn tunes that showcased his range, versatility, and, above all, the quality that Ellington admired him most for: his sensitivity to all of the timbral, tonal, and color possibilities an orchestra could bring to a piece of music. The set opens with a vehicle for Johnny Hodges called “Snibor,” written in 1949. A loose blues tune, its intervals showcase Hodges against a stinging I-IV-V backdrop and turnaround, with a sweeping set of colors in the brass section before Cootie Williams takes a break and hands it back to Hodges to take out. The melancholy “Blood Count” was written in 1967 for the band’s Carnegie Hall concert. It proved to be his final composition and chart. Hodges again gets the call and blows deep, low, and full of sadness and even anger. The music is moody, poignant, and full of poise, expressing a wide range of feelings as memories from different periods in the composers’ and bandleaders’ collective careers. Given all the works Strayhorn composed, this one — with its muted trumpet section set in fours against Hodges’ blues wailing — is both wistful and chilling. Also included here is a remake of 1951’s “Rock Skippin’ at the Blue Note,” in a spicy, funky version with a shimmering cymbal ride from Sam Woodyard and a punched up, bleating Cootie Williams solo as well as one from Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet, smoothing out the harmonic edges of the brass section (which features a ringing break from John Sanders). In cut time, the tune shuffles in the groove with Ellington accenting on every eight as the brass and reeds mix it up joyously. There are two versions of “Lotus Blossom.” Ellington claimed it was the piece Strayhorn most liked to hear him play. The LP version is a quiet, restrained, meditative rendition played solo by Ellington, with the most subtle and yet emotional nuances he ever presented on a recording as a pianist. Finally, closing the album is a bonus track, a trio version played in a whispering tone with only baritone saxophonist Harry Carney and bassist Aaron Bell accompanying Ellington. The piece was supposedly recorded as the band was packing up to leave. Its informality and soulful verve feel like they are an afterthought, an unwillingness to completely let go, a eulogy whose final words are questions, elegantly stated and met with only the echo of their last vibrations ringing in an empty room, full of wondering, longing, and helplessness, but above all the point of the questions themselves: “Is this enough?” or “Can there ever be enough to pay an adequate tribute to this man?” They are interesting questions, because only five years later we would all be saying the same thing about Ellington. For a man who issued well over 300 albums, this set is among his most profoundly felt and very finest recorded moments. – Thom Jurek

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Duke Ellington – Ellington at Newport (July 7,1956 – Newport 60th Anniversary Edition) (2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Duke Ellington – Ellington at Newport (July 7,1956 – Newport 60th Anniversary Edition) (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 01:06:06 minutes | 711 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Columbia – Legacy

Ellington at Newport is a 1956 live jazz album by Duke Ellington and his band of their 1956 concert at the Newport Jazz Festival, a concert which revitalized Ellington’s flagging career. Jazz promoter George Wein describes the 1956 concert as “the greatest performance of [Ellington’s] career… It stood for everything that jazz had been and could be.” It is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, which ranks it “one of the most famous… in jazz history”. The original release was partly recreated in the studio after the Ellington Orchestra’s festival appearance.

Ellington released a follow-up album also recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival, Newport 1958, two years later.

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Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – Masterpieces by Ellington (1951) [Analogue Productions 2014] PS3 ISO + DSF DSD64 + Hi-Res FLAC

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – Masterpieces by Ellington (1951) [APO Remaster 2014]
PS3 Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 55:38 minutes | Front Cover | 2,23 GB
or DSD64 2.0 Mono (from SACD-ISO to Tracks.dsf) > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Front Cover | 2,19 GB
or FLAC Mono (carefully converted & encoded to tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Front Cover | 1,09 GB

Masterpieces by Ellington is the first LP album by American pianist, composer, and bandleader Duke Ellington, recorded for the Columbia label in 1950. It was one of the earliest 12-inch LPs to take advantage of the extended time available and consisted of four tracks, three of them “concert arrangements” of Ellington standards and one, “The Tattooed Bride”, a recent tone poem. The original 1951 release under the “Columbia Masterworks” banner featured a red cover which was replaced by the more modern blue cover in 1956. This album was re-released with additional bonus tracks recorded at later sessions from 1951.

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Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges Play the Blues – Back To Back (1959/2012) [DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz]

Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges Play the Blues – Back To Back (1959/2012)
DSF Stereo DSD64/2.82MHz  | Time – 00:47:15 minutes | 1.86 GB | Genre: Jazz
Source: ISO SACD | © Verve Records
Recorded: Columbia Studios, New York, NY, February 20, 1959
Mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound

Back to back, or side by side, Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges form a duo which, in terms of sustained jazz artistry, has never been rivaled. The Ellington fanciers will be well rewarded, for there are many passages of Duke’s unusual and charming solo improvisations. “Johnny Hodges,” Duke said, “has complete independence of expression. He says what he wants to say on the horn, and that is it. He says it in his language, from his perspective, which is specific, and you could say that his is pure artistry.” Hodges carries most of the melodic statements of well-known blues standards, but gets in his share of ad lib choruses along with the swinging trumpet of Harry “Sweets” Edison. This is one of the most thoroughly relaxed, conversational jazz sessions ever recorded.

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Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – Concert In The Virgin Islands (1965/2011) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra – Concert In The Virgin Islands (1965/2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 37:22 minutes | 1,46 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover | © Rhino/Warner Bros.

This lush, Caribbean-themed collection created a new standard for big band music. The recording includes four original compositions representing the “Virgin Island Suite” and new readings of classics from Ellington’s extensive repertoire. The pieces on this set are as impressive as the stellar line up of musicians including Cat Anderson, Jimmy Hamilton, Billy Strayhorn, among others. The inspired performances and textured nuances are captured with the highest fidelity.

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Duke Ellington – …And His Mother Called Him Bill (1968/2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

Duke Ellington – …And His Mother Called Him Bill (1968/2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 44:23 minutes | 0,97 GB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download  | Front Cover | © RCA – Legacy

When Billy Strayhorn died of cancer in 1967, Duke Ellington was devastated. His closest friend and arranger had left his life full of music and memories. As a tribute, Ellington and his orchestra almost immediately began recording a tribute to Strayhorn, using the late arranger’s own compositions.

The album features well-known and previously unrecorded Strayhorn tunes that showcase his range, versatility, and, above all, the quality that Ellington admired him most for: his sensitivity to all of the timbral, tonal, and color possibilities an orchestra could bring to a piece of music.

Full of informality and soulful verve, these recordings feel like they are an afterthought, an unwillingness to completely let go, a eulogy whose final words are questions, elegantly stated and met with only the echo of their last vibrations ringing in an empty room, full of wondering, longing, and helplessness, but above all the point of the questions themselves: “Is this enough?” or “Can there ever be enough to pay an adequate tribute to this man?”

They are interesting questions, because only five years later we would all be saying the same thing about Ellington. For a man who issued well over 300 albums, this set is among his most profoundly felt and very finest recorded moments.

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Duke Ellington – Ellington ’65 (1964/2011) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

Duke Ellington – Ellington ’65 (1964/2011)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 32:50 minutes | 1,22 GB | Genre: Jazz
Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks.com | Front cover | © Rhino/Warner Bros.

Ellington ‘65 is an illuminating eleven-track album of standards from the legendary Duke Ellington. The album is among the very best in his career and highlights some of the most exceptional performances from veteran players like Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope and Lawrence Brown. With blistering horn arrangements, the ensemble delivers passionate and virtuosic performances on songs like “Hello, Dolly!,” “Never on Sunday,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” A must have for any music library.

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