Release Date: 09/25/07
The Best Band in the Land
As well as the Duke's skills as pianist, composer and arranger, key sidemen, such as 'Bubber' Miley, Joe 'Tricky Sam' Nanton and Johnny Hodges were recognised as major jazz soloists. This collection spans March 1929 to February 1940, a key period for jazz in general and Ellington in particular. We concentrate on the orchestra's performances, mainly instrumental, along with some featuring singer Ivie Anderson. In late 1929, there had been a major change: Bubber Miley had gone. In his place came 'Cootie' Williams, a powerful blues player in his own right. In July 1929, the Ellington Orchestra provided the music for a Ziegfeld revue, 'Showgirl', which featured the debut of George Gershwin's, An American In Paris. The revue quickly closed, panned by critics. Ziegfeld said of Duke's contribution, '...the finest exponents of syncopated music in existence. Irving Berlin went mad about them and some of the best exponents of modern music who have heard them almost jumped out of their seats with excitement over their extraordinary harmonies and exciting rhythms.' Shortly after 'Showgirl' closed, the Ellington Orchestra made its screen debut in 'Black And Tan Fantasy', a short film. A year later, the band spent their summer break in Hollywood, filming 'Check And Double Checks' featuring radio stars Amos 'n' Andy, character's played by two white actors who appeared in blackface. The best thing about the film was the number Double Check Stomps heard here in the studio version. In February 1931, Ellington left the Cotton Club. No longer restricted to serving the club's floorshows, Ellington could explore wider musical horizons. Recorded in two parts and released as a double-sided 12 inch 78 rpm disc, Creole Rhapsody, from June 1931, represented his most ambitious work to date. From 1943 until 1948, the Ellington Band performed annually at Carnegie Hall - confirmation, if any were needed, that the Duke and his band had reached the pinnacle of showbiz success.
|Label: Jsp Records|
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