Duke in the Twenties

Posted by: Dave Douglas on November 9, 2010 @ 9:19 am
Filed under: Dave Douglas (Artist Thoughts)

A couple weeks ago I was raving here about the late Ellington Suites. Still kind of mad about Such Sweet Thunder, The New Orleans Suite, The Latin American Suite, The Far East Suite. Others pointed me to their favorites from this period and from the period just before in the mid to late sixties.

The other day I went back to the collection and pulled out the complete recordings from the ‘twenties. It has been a while. Right now I am geeking out on 26/27/28. Such great music — the ensemble playing, the crazy arrangements, the hilariously loony vocals, the banjo as chordal percussionist, the bass player doubling on tuba. Also when you think that these recordings for the most part were made with one microphone it’s kind of astounding.

Now I see where Mosaic is going to be releasing the Complete — No, I mean Really Complete — 1930’s Ellington Orchestra. Yes, I’ll look forward to that. It’ll be a post-tour treat.


  1. Cool that you’re on an Ellington kick Dave. I’m thinking every serious jazz composer, not to mention player, needs to immerse themselves in Ellington for a time. It’s just too deep to ignore. I wanted to throw out there that for my money there is no better Ellington than “The Great Paris Concert,” a double LP (originally) from the early 1960s, incredible band (top Ellington personnel since the early years) in absolute peak form with some of the really classic tunes and arrangements. Some fun, inside Ellington band stuff too. Great sound. And what is of particular interest, at least to me, is that it might be the most perfectly programmed concert of all time. The LPs presented the concert as performed including announcements, etc and it is a total joy. Once you start listening it’s hard to stop. You get the complete Ellington: musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, concert programmer/presenter, emcee, conductor … what else? He does it all as well as it’s ever been done. Amazing.

    Comment by Mike Grimaldi — November 9, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  2. For Duke, it was all just dreaming:

    Comment by Greg — November 11, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  3. Well said. Always comes back to dreams.

    Comment by Jim Tuerk — November 11, 2010 @ 1:24 pm

  4. Thanks everybody. Greg, I had not seen that link about dreams. Makes me wish even more that the Ken Burns jazz series had applied that same passion and love to everything. You’re innocent when you dream.

    The Great Paris Concert. Yes.

    Comment by Dave Douglas — November 24, 2010 @ 8:01 am

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