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: James Taylor; Sweet Baby James (Warners)

THE BARGAIN BUY: James Taylor; Sweet Baby James (Warners)

After his brief signing to the Beatles label Apple and his self-titled debut in '69 (which included a song entitled Soemthing in the Way She Moves which Harrison also used), Taylor moved over to... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Are you ready for the country?

THE BARGAIN BUY: The Sony "Original Album Classics" series: Are you ready for the country?

When I interviewed Kris Kristofferson in 2005, he said with a laugh, “I’ve recently been shown a lot of respect from the country music people. You know, there have been times... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Fergus Barrowman

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE JAZZ QUESTIONNAIRE: Fergus Barrowman

Fergus Barrowman is the Publisher of Victoria University Press, New Zealand’s leading publisher of new fiction and poetry, as well as scholarly non-fiction, where he has been since 1985.... > Read more

DARCY PERRY PROFILED (2013): Long years and hard miles

DARCY PERRY PROFILED (2013): Long years and hard miles

Because of so many other pressing commitments, Elsewhere missed acknowledging the blues journeyman Darcy Perry when he played a few shows with his band during Blue September. But he has... > Read more