THE BARGAIN BUY: The Real Duke Ellington

 |   |  1 min read

Duke Ellington: Harlem Speaks (1933)
THE BARGAIN BUY: The Real Duke Ellington

Many years ago I posted a piece about Duke Ellington under the heading "A genius, but not that great?" in which I referred to the argument by jazz scholar James Lincoln Collier. His thesis was that gifted though Ellington was in a number of areas he was not a genius in any, so therefore . . .

I pointed out the flaw in this, but one reader took extreme exception and thought I had dismissed Ellington.

Regrettably, for some reason, that comment appears to have disappeared but if you care to read what I wrote I think my point is clear.

Ellington was remarkable on just about every count (although there remains the case that he wasn't a pianist in the major league) and was one of the great collaborators and arrangers.

His classic work (from the late Thirties to the dawn of the Fifties, then again in the late Fifties for a decade) should be in any sensible collection, but this triple album of his early work (all recorded in the Thirties) is very easy to like.

There are a lot of standards and reworkings here (It Don't Mean a Thing, St Louis Blues, Sophisticated Lady, Prelude to a Kiss, In a Sentimental Mood, Echoes of Harlem and Caravan among them) and with 75 remastered tracks in total it is certainly a generous dollop of Duke.

JB_logoAnd what makes it even easier to enoy is that it is just $10 at JB Hi-Fi stores here.

There are number of cheap titles in this series (Sinatra, Armstrong, Basie, an excellent Elvis Sixties set and so on) so we cheerfully make this a bargain buy -- despite the lack of liner notes and performer credits -- which is also a trip back in time to pop song-sized jazz. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Velvet Underground; White Light White Heat/Velvet Underground and Nico

Brian Eno once said that there would come a time when the Velvet Underground were discussed in the same breath as the Beatles with regard to their influence and importance. He said that when very... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Thin Lizzy; Classic Album Selection (Universal)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Thin Lizzy; Classic Album Selection (Universal)

Some think the only essential Thin Lizzy album is Live and Dangerous from 1978. Agreed in a way but . . . only three quarters of a brilliant live album, as we shall see. This six... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . Z'EV: He bangs the drum, and then some

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . Z'EV: He bangs the drum, and then some

When a couple of writers from the then-recently launched Re/Search tabloid went to visit the experimental percussionist known as Z'EV in 1981, the conversation was esoteric and philosophical.... > Read more

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette (2006)

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone: Etiquette (2006)

If nothing else, you had to raise a smile at the nom-de-disque which American singer-songwriter Owen Ashworth adopted. It announces its lo-fi quality, and identifies its audience at the same time.... > Read more