Barcode: 8436559468985/7C8837
Format: LP
Status: Διαθέσιμο Κατόπιν Παραγγελίας (Προϋπόθεση ύπαρξης stock στον προμηθευτή)

Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald’s paths had surely crossed many times during the Thirties, Forties and early Fifties (and there is that beautiful Herman Leonard picture of Duke and Benny Goodman listening to Ella sing at the Downbeat club in New York in 1949). However, no recorded trace of the two legendary musicians collaborating together exists until 1957, when they participated on a series of big band sessions for Norman Granz. Although Ellington admired Ella, he was on a tight concert schedule by this point and didn’t have a lot of free time for composing new music or making specific arrangements for these albums, which were going to be inscribed in the “songbook” formula that had proven so successful for Ella so far. As Stuart Nicholson wrote in his biography of Ella: “While the Rodgers & Hart Songbook was being completed in early September, Granz began putting plans in place to record a Duke Ellington Songbook. But getting Duke himself into the studios to complete the sessions proved difficult; his busy schedule seemed unceasing, and it was not until the end of June 1957 that Granz secured him and his orchestra for four days. Meanwhile, Jimmy Jones was sent out to get Ella’s keys so that Duke could prepare special arrangements for the session. It was to no avail, however; when Duke arrived in the studios he had nothing prepared. ‘It was a panic scene’, said Ella, ‘with Duke almost making up the arrangements as we went along. Duke is a genius, I admire him as much as anyone in the world, but doing it that way, even though it was fun at times, got to be kind of nerve-racking.’ Consequently, the Duke Ellington Songbook has a scissors-and-paste feel. ‘It was done under the worst conditions’, said Norman Granz in 1979. ‘He was under contract to Columbia, but I had Johnny Hodges. When Hodges rejoined the band in 1956, I managed to force a few concessions, I would have Duke for one LP, two if I used Ella. We planned far in advance, but in the end Duke failed to do a single arrangement. Ella had to use the band’s regular arrangements. She’d do a vocal where an instrumental chorus would normally go. To stretch to four LPs, we padded it with various small-group things with Ben Webster and so on’.” The songs heard here come from those small group dates. To give them a more definite Ellingtonian sound, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster was called. A highly reputed soloist who was no longer a member of Duke’s band by this point, Webster would remain forever close to both Ellington and his music. Legendary violinist Stuff Smith was added to one of the sessions (this is the only existing testimony of Smith and Ella playing together with the sole exception of two tunes captured by radio devices in Stockholm on April 29 of 1957, the same year the Ellington songbook was made). The small groups were completed with other stars under contract with Granz; Ella’s regular accompanist Paul Smith and Granz’s omnipresent star Oscar Peterson shared the piano, while Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis took turns on guitar.

1. Cotton Tail (Duke Ellington)

2. Solitude (Duke Ellington-Edgar De Lange)

3. Satin Doll (Duke Ellington-Johnny Mercer-Billy Strayhorn)

4. Don't Get Around Much Anymore (Duke Ellington-Johnny Hodges-

5. It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) (Duke Ell

6. In a Sentimental Mood (Duke Ellington-Emanuel Kurtz)

7. Prelude To a Kiss (Duke Ellington-Irving Gordon)

8. Azure (Duke Ellington-Irving Mills)

9. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me (Duke Ellington-Bob Russell

10. Just A-Sittin' and A-Rockin' (Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn

11. Mood Indigo (Barney Bigard-Duke Ellington-Mitchell Parish)

12. In a Mellow Tone (Duke Ellington-Milt Gabler)

13. Sophisticated Lady (Duke Ellington-Lawrence Brown-Otto Hardw

14. Lush Life (Billy Strayhorn)

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