Blues In Orbit (Remastered) Duke Ellington

Album info

Album-Release:
1960

HRA-Release:
25.05.2016

Label: Sony Legacy

Genre: Jazz

Subgenre: Big Band

Album including Album cover

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  • 1Three J's Blues02:56
  • 2Smada02:39
  • 3Pie Eye's Blues03:29
  • 4Sweet And Pungent04:03
  • 5C Jam Blues04:53
  • 6In A Mellow Tone02:43
  • 7Blues In Blueprint03:42
  • 8The Swingers Get The Blues Too03:08
  • 9The Swinger's Jump03:55
  • 10Blues In Orbit02:29
  • 11Villes Ville Is The Place, Man02:30
  • Total Runtime36:27

Info for Blues In Orbit (Remastered)

It's tempting for Blues in Orbit to be overlooked when Duke Ellington's best albums are discussed, but truly it's an undisputed gem. There are 11 tracks, none of them is longer than 4:50 and it is all good stuff. There are some familiar favorites like "In a Mellotone" and "C Jam Blues" as well as less often heard gems like "Blues in Blueprint and "Sweet and Pungent." It is also in stereo, and the arrangements are superb.

The featured performers include Ellington stalwarts Johnnie Hodges, Ray Nance, Harry Carney and Jimmy Hamilton, as well as the less familiar Booty Wood and Matthew Gee. Johnnie, in particular is well showcased here, taking the lead not only in slow pieces like "Brown Penny" and "Sentimental Lady", but also in the rousing, "Smada."

All of the takes were recorded during after midnight sessions recorded over two nights starting on December 2, 1959 in New York at Columbia Record's studio on East 30th Street. Each night Duke's late dinner arrived at 2 a.m. — a sizzling steak, a pot of coffee with lemons in it, portions of American cheese, and grapefruits. After dinner, and a breather for the band, the sessions finished around dawn in a swinging fashion.

If you're just getting into jazz, this album is highly recommended as a great way to initiate your collection. The sound is incredible. Another audiophile home run.

„Blues in Orbit lacks the intellectual cache of the suites and concept pieces that loomed large in Ellington's recordings of this period, but it's an album worth tracking down, if only to hear the band run through a lighter side of its sound -- indeed, it captures the essence of a late-night recording date that was as much a loose jam as a formal studio date, balancing the spontaneity of the former and the technical polish of the latter. Ellington and company were just back from a European tour when the bulk of this album was recorded at one after-midnight session in New York on December 2, 1959 -- the arrangements had to be hastily written out when the copyist failed to appear for the gig. So on the one hand, the band was kicking back with these shorter pieces; on the other, the group was also improvising freely and intensely at various points. The title track, recorded more than a year before most of the rest, is a slow blues that puts Ellington's piano into a call-and-response setting with the horns, with Ellington getting in the last word. "Villes Ville Is the Place, Man" is a bracing, beat-driven jaunt, highlighted by solos featuring Ray Nance, Harry Carney, and Johnny Hodges on trumpet, baritone sax, and alto, respectively. "Three J's Blues" shows off composer Jimmy Hamilton playing some earthy tenor sax in a swinging, exuberant blues setting. "Smada" features Billy Strayhorn on piano and Johnny Hodges on alto, in a stirring dance number, and "Pie Eye's Blues" is a hot studio improvisation featuring Ray Nance and Jimmy Hamilton trading three solos each.“ (Bruce Eder, AMG)

Duke Ellington, piano
Russell Procope, clarinet, alto saxophone
Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet, tenor saxophone
Harry Carney, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone
Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone
Paul Gonsalves, tenor saxophone
Clark Terry, trumpet
Ray Nance, trumpet
Shorty Baker, trumpet
Cat Anderson, trumpet
Matthew Gee, trombone, baritone horn
Quentin Jackson, trombone
Johnny Sanders, trombone
Booty Wood, trombone
Britt Woodman, trombone
Billy Strayhorn, piano
Jimmy Woode, double bass
Jimmy Johnson, drums
Sam Woodyard, drums

Recorded at Columbia's 30th Street Studio, New York City, tracks 1 to 9, 13 to 17 (February 25, 1959 & December 2-3, 1959)
Radio Recorders, Los Angeles, tracks, 10, 12, 18, 19 (February 4 & February 12, 1958)
Produced by Irving Townsend, Teo Macero

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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