Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - 1933-1935

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra - 1933-1935
Genre: Jazz
Duration: 01:12:17
Recording Date: August 15, 1933 - January 9, 1935
Artist: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Album: 1933-1935
Release Date: November 19, 1996
Styles: Big Band, Swing, Early Jazz

Decades after these recordings were made, an LP appeared as part of RCA Victor's superb Vintage series bearing the title Daybreak Express. Focusing on much of his best work from the mid-'30s, that album was a perfect introduction to the music of Duke Ellington. Number 646 in the Classics Chronological series serves this purpose just as effectively, shifting the frame of reference to include the autumn and winter of 1933, a broad sweep through 1934, and two originally unissued tidbits from January of 1935. From the first few bars of "Harlem Speaks," you know you are in front of what Fats Waller always swore was the greatest jazz orchestra in the world. Wellman Braud pushes the band around the room, his bass fiddle chugging along in fourth gear. Joe Nanton blows "ya-ya" smoke rings through the trombone. The trumpets are a bitch. And the reed section is the very bloodstream of Duke's orchestra. This band could play anything. Even "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree" becomes radiantly hip under such conditions. Legend has it that "Rude Interlude" got its title in honor of a request for "Rude Indigo." As for that "Daybreak Express," a life-sized steam locomotive is conjured with almost aggressive clarity.

You can practically smell the oil and feel the tracks vibrating as the band roars by with horns in the air. "Solitude" appears in two lovely takes recorded eight months apart. Number two is fleshier. "Stompy Jones," named for a courier and valet who traveled with the band, is the definitive hot jam. While Louis Bacon and Ivie Anderson were both fine vocalists, the toy surprise inside of this package is the first version of "My Old Flame," recorded in Hollywood on April 23, 1934, and issued on the world-renowned Biltmore label. The vocalist is none other than Mae West! Whoever thought of putting her and Duke together on the same record should have ordered up a dozen more sides, as this is one fascinating combination of personalities. Both were notably sensual individuals, incredibly dignified and strong-willed. Having carefully made way for Mae, Ellington's instrumentalists are able to play more expressively on Ivie's turf. Interesting comparisons could be made between Mae's and Ivie's takes and Billie Holiday's stunning Commodore rendition of 1944. "Admiration" introduces cornetist Rex Stewart, a brand-new addition to the Ellington troupe. "Farewell Blues," so beautifully rendered in 1934 by the Claude Hopkins Orchestra, receives the full Ellington treatment.

Title/ComposerPerformerTime
Harlem Speaks / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:09
In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree / Egbert VanAlstyne / Harry WilliamsDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:12
Rude Interlude / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:09
Dallas Doings / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra2:54
Dear Old Southland / Henry Creamer / Turner LaytonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:32
Daybreak Express / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra2:55
Delta Serenade / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:18
Stompy Jones / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra feat: Duke Ellington3:02
Solitude / Eddie DeLange / Duke Ellington / Irving MillsDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:26
Blue Feeling / Duke Ellington / Brownie McGheeDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:09
Ebony Rhapsody / Sam Coslow / Arthur JohnstonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:22
Cocktails for Two / Sam Coslow / Arthur JohnstonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:30
Live and Love Tonight / Sam Coslow / Arthur JohnstonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:16
I Met My Waterloo / Sam Coslow / Arthur JohnstonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:26
My Old Flame / Sam Coslow / Arthur JohnstonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:12
Troubled Waters / Sam Coslow / Arthur JohnstonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:18
My Old Flame / Sam Coslow / Arthur JohnstonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:18
Solitude / Eddie DeLange / Duke Ellington / Irving MillsDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:11
Saddest Tale / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:16
Moonglow / Eddie DeLange / Will Hudson / Irving MillsDuke Ellington & His Orchestra3:05
Sump'n' 'Bout Rhythm / Duke EllingtonDuke Ellington & His Orchestra2:36
Admiration / Duke Ellington / Manny Kurtz / Irving Mills / Juan TizolDuke Ellington & His Orchestra2:37
Farewell Blues / Joseph Mares / Paul Mares / Leon Roppolo / Elmer SchoebelDuke Ellington & His Orchestra2:24

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