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: Carole King: Tapestry Legacy Edition (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Carole King: Tapestry Legacy Edition (Sony)

The literary term "roman a clef" refers to a novel which is a thinly disguised story based on real events, and maybe we could also use it in the context of film and telelvision.... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Pop with a twist

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Pop with a twist

Even when it was exciting and happening all around you didn't have to be too bright to observe that punk was mostly just pop wound up tight and with more furious lyrics, that New Wave was just pop... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Parquet Courts: Human Performance (Rough Trade)

Parquet Courts: Human Performance (Rough Trade)

The weird pop opener here Dust (“Dust is everywhere. Sweep”) reminds you this band's singer-songwriter Andrew Savage was once in the Zappa-influenced electronica outfit Fergus and... > Read more

PHOTOGRAPHER ALFREDO BINI PROFILED (2012): Point and shoot, and be shot at

PHOTOGRAPHER ALFREDO BINI PROFILED (2012): Point and shoot, and be shot at

As a career change, it couldn't have been more dramatic or life endangering. In a few fast years Alfredo Bini went from being a factory manager in Italy to a freelance photojournalist being shot... > Read more