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Duke Ellington
Paris Jazz Concert, Volume One
Malaca Jazz Classics CD MJD1202, 1998

The Duke, live in 1958

Ben Ohmart

We "Take the A Train" to start our 57 minute trip, and I know you've all heard this one before, but it's a great start, cats. There are a few great medleys in here as well, blending the usual with the not so. And besides, you can't really get tired of hearing "The Mooch," can you? Are you stupid?

"Newport Up" is one of my favorites here. It  gets you there. I used to have a running gag with my father, that whenever I wanted to get anywhere faster–like picking him up from work–I'd put jazz on in the car. And it damn worked! So, if you're late one morning, try track three, and pause it for cops.

I could do without yet another "Sophisticated Lady," but there are plenty of horns and swivel-hipped moods to capture the delight here. Just make sure the stereo's up loud enough. Duke pounds a few soft solos out, and at times only the turkey-warbling sax cuts through the soft cool.

Mostly instrumental, but there are two interesting vocal numbers, including "Together," crooned in fine style by Ozzie Bailey. Back to just the instruments, "All of Me" is shy of 3 minutes, but not skimpy on brass and black attitude.

Oh, and let's not forget the beautiful "Harlem Airshaft" penned–for once!–by the Duke himself. It swings like a kid on a snowy school day.

Good CD overall, even though listening to it through earphones, I get that wavy quality, you know, that weird, unexplainable happening where music fluctuates in and out, but not quite enough to classify it as bad soundboard. Kind of like an official bootleg put out by a family tired of having the illegal stuff circulating round and round.

But it's worth getting. If only for the pomp and pump of "Such Sweet Thunder," yeah, man.

performers  Duke Ellington, piano; Harold Baker, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Ray Nance, trumpets; Quentin Jackson, John Sanders, Britt Woodman, trombones; Johnny Hodes, Russell Procope, Jimmy Hamilton, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney, saxophones; Jimmy Woods, bass; Sam Woodyard, drums; Ozzie Bailey, vocals

songs  Take the A Train · Medley: Black and Tan Fantasy · Creole Love Call · The Mooch · Newport Up · Deep Purple · Harlem Airshaft · Medley: Such Sweet Thunder, Sonnet for Hank Cinq · Sophisticated Lady · Medley: Kinda Dukish, Rockin' in Rhythm · What Else Can You Do With a Drum? · Together · Jeep's Blues · All of Me · Things Ain't What They Used To Be

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