Far East Suite (Remastered) Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra

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  • 1Tourist Point of View05:09
  • 2Bluebird of Delhi (Mynah)03:18
  • 3Isfahan04:02
  • 4Depk02:41
  • 5Mount Harissa07:40
  • 6Blue Pepper (Far East of The Blues)03:00
  • 7Agra02:35
  • 8Amad04:26
  • 9Ad Lib on Nippon11:34
  • Total Runtime44:25

Info for Far East Suite (Remastered)

The Far East Suite is an album by Duke Ellington and his orchestra, recorded in New York City on 19 December to 21 December 1966. The nine compositions on the original album were all composed by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn (except for one by Ellington); a 1995 reissue added four previously unreleased alternative takes.

Mak Murtic says that tracks on Far East Suite “use small, fragmented, deliberately exotic themes to show that this is merely an outlook, possibly not a well understood one, of an outsider.” It would be silly to title an album Far East Suite and not use the tools at one’s disposal to conjure up sound-related images of Asia. Ellington achieves this wonderfully with his band of jazz musicians and Eastern song titles which provide the tiniest poetic hints as to the larger portraits painted by these endlessly melodic soundscapes. Given that Ellington had been making ‘exotic-sounding’ jazz for several decades, Far East Suite can hardly be criticized as some kind of superficial exotica. All exotica is more or less ‘superficial’—this is Ellington’s point. Some critics have pointed to the fact that Far East Suite does not actually work as a ‘suite’ in the usual musical sense—the compositions are too varied to work together as part of a whole. That may be true, but ultimately it is the constant variety of styles and sounds heard on Far East Suite that remind us that what we get here is not an education in Eastern music, but simply Ellington’s artistic vision of the excitement anyone feels traveling through foreign lands.

Cootie Williams, trumpet
William "Cat" Anderson, trumpet
Mercer Ellington, trumpet & flugelhorn
Herbie Jones, trumpet & flugelhorn
Lawrence Brown, trombone
Buster Cooper, trombone
Chuck Connors, trombone
Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet & tenor saxophone
Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone
Russell Procope, alto saxophone & clarinet
Paul Gonsalves, tenor saxophone
Harry Carney, baritone saxophone
Duke Ellington, piano
John Lamb, bass
Rufus Jones, drums

Recorded 19 December to 21 December 1966 at RCA Victor's Studio A, New York City
Engineered by Ed Begley
Produced by Brad McKuen

Digitally remastered

Duke Ellington
called his music 'American Music' rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as 'beyond category. He remains one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music and is widely considered as one of the twentieth century's best known African American personalities. As both a composer and a band leader, Ellington's reputation has increased since his death, with thematic repackaging of his signature music often becoming best-sellers. Posthumous recognition of his work include a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Duke Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. In his fifty year career, he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia.

Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live onand will endure for generations to come. Winton Marsalis said it best when he said 'His music sounds like America.' Because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase “beyond category” more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. He was most certainly one of a kind that maintained a lifestyle with universal appeal which transcended countless boundaries.

Duke Ellington is best remembered for the over 3000 songs that he composed during his lifetime. His best known titles include; 'It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing', 'Sophisticated Lady', 'Mood Indigo', “Solitude', 'In a Mellotone', and 'Satin Doll'. The most amazing part about Ellington was the most creative while he was on the road. It was during this time when he wrote his most famous piece, 'Mood Indigo'which brought him world wide fame.

Duke Ellington's popular compositions set the bar for generations of brilliant jazz, pop, theatre and soundtrack composers to come. While these compositions guarantee his greatness, what makes Duke an iconoclastic genius, and an unparalleled visionary, what has granted him immortality are his extended suites. From 1943's Black, Brown and Beige to 1972's The Uwis Suite, Duke used the suite format to give his jazz songs a far more empowering meaning, resonance and purpose: to exalt, mythologize and re-contextualize the African-American experience on a grand scale.

Duke Ellington was partial to giving brief verbal accounts of the moods his songs captured. Reading those accounts is like looking deep into the background of an old photo of New York and noticing the lost and almost unaccountable details that gave the city its character during Ellington's heyday, which began in 1927 when his band made the Cotton Club its home. ''The memory of things gone,'' Ellington once said, ''is important to a jazz musician,'' and the stories he sometimes told about his songs are the record of those things gone. But what is gone returns, its pulse kicking, when Ellington's music plays, and never mind what past it is, for the music itself still carries us forward today.

Duke Ellington was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966. He was later awarded several other prizes, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, and the Legion of Honor by France in 1973, the highest civilian honors in each country. He died of lung cancer and pneumonia on May 24, 1974, a month after his 75th birthday, and is buried in the Bronx, in New York City. At his funeral attended by over 12,000 people at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Ella Fitzgerald summed up the occasion, 'It's a very sad day...A genius has passed.'

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