Duke Ellington - 1967 European Tour

Duke Ellington - 1967 European Tour
Album: 1967 European Tour
Duration: 01:39:11
Release Date: April 27, 2004
Artist: Duke Ellington
Genre: Jazz
Styles: Big Band, Swing

The title to this two-CD set is a bit misleading, as it not a compilation of excerpts from Duke Ellington's 1967 tour of Europe, but five selections from an afternoon concert in Rome and nearly the entire evening show (minus one song, "La Plus Belle Africaine," which was eliminated for technical reasons) on February 22, 1967 . The odd balance of the music indicates that this was an unauthorized recording, as the rhythm section and the soloists are heard far more distinctly than the brass and reed sections.

That said, the show is well paced, without the obligatory long medley of hits that longtime Ellington fans dread, and a good mix of old favorites and recent compositions. Trombonist Buster Cooper takes solo honors in the blues "The Twitch," Russell Procope's moody clarinet shines in "Swamp Goo," while "Mount Harissa" (from The Far East Suite) and the blistering "Up Jump" showcase tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves. Trombonist Lawrence Brown takes center stage for the jaunty "Rue Bleue," while the leader revisits his follow-up tribute to Harlem stride master Willie "The Lion" Smith in "Second Portrait of the Lion," demonstrating that his stride chops were still very much intact. The last five selections on the first disc are from the afternoon show, all features for alto sax great Johnny Hodges. The second disc is taken from the evening concert. "Take the 'A' Train features Ellington and clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton, while omitting the usual trumpet 'solo. Cootie Williams makes the most of "The Shepherd" and "Tutti for Cootie," as he was the most dominant trumpet soloist after returning to the band in 1962 after a 22-year absence. "Mara Gold" is a drum feature for Rufus "Speedy" Jones, though without seeing the action, it quickly grows tedious. Hodges shines once more in the gorgeous ballad "The Star-Crossed Lovers." Ellington leaves his audience wanting more with a romp through his time-tested "Rockin' in Rhythm." In spite of the strong performance by the band, the less than professional sound reduces the value of this release.

Take the "A" Train / Duke Ellington / Billy StrayhornDuke Ellington0:48
The Twitch / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington6:54
Swamp Goo / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington4:56
Mount Harissa / Duke Ellington / Billy StrayhornDuke Ellington7:06
Up Jump / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington3:44
Rue Bleu / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington3:01
Chromatic Love Affair / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington4:02
Salome' / Raymond FolDuke Ellington3:51
Wild Onions / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington2:05
The Second Portrait of the Lion / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington2:20
Johnny Come Lately / Billy StrayhornDuke Ellington3:09
Star Crossed Lovers / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington3:59
Things Ain't What They Used to BeDuke Ellington2:51
Drag / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington4:20
Things Ain't What They Used to BeDuke Ellington1:58

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