Saturday, June 3, 2017

Simon Rattle - Classic Ellington


Composer: Duke Ellington; Billy Strayhorn; Irving Mills; Mitchell Parish; Luther Henderson; Eddie DeLange; Lawrence Brown; Mercer Ellington
  1. Take the 'A' Train
  2. You're the One
  3. Sophisticated Lady
  4. Harlem
  5. Isfahan
  6. Ad Lib on Nippon
  7. That Doo-Wah Thing
  8. Something to Live For
  9. Come Sunday
  10. Solitude in Transblucency
  11. Maybe
  12. Things Ain't What They Used to Be

Lena Horne, vocals
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Simon Rattle, conductor
Clark Terry; Bobby Watson; Joshua Redman; Joe Lovano; Regina Carter; Geri Allen; Lewish Nash; Peter Washington

Date: 2000
Label: EMI



Simon Rattle made a successful foray into the realm of jazz with The Jazz Album, made, with the London Sinfonietta, at the beginning of his association with EMI. Now he returns to that field with this tribute to Duke Ellington. (For the record, not all of the music here was written by Ellington himself, or by Ellington alone.) The arrangements are all by Luther Henderson, who has rightly felt free to take the kind of liberties that the jazz idiom encourages. Numbers like ‘Take the “A” Train’ (given with compelling momentum) and ‘Sophisticated Lady’ take on a new significance, and poignancy is added by the fact that the octogenarian jazz singer Lena Horne, pre-recorded, takes part in three Billy Strayhorn numbers, ‘You’re the One’, ‘Something to Live For’ and ‘Maybe’. Though the voice is of course a little fragile now, the style is there. There are also a number of distinguished jazz soloists of older and younger generations. What is most significant about this disc, however, is that there is no sense of jazz manner versus classical manner, of any need to ‘crossover’. The music, whether founded in the jazz tradition or, as in two movements from the Far East Suite, with a more overtly classical aspiration behind it, has plenty of substance and seriousness and variety behind it, and all the musicians here, of whatever background, respond in kind.

-- Stephen PettittBBC Music Magazine

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Duke Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and bandleader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death in a career spanning over fifty years. Often collaborating with others, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his works having become standards. Ellington is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other more traditional musical genres.


Simon Rattle (born 19 January 1955 in London), is an English conductor. He rose to international prominence during the 1980s and 1990s, while Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1980–98). He has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic since 2002, and plans to leave his position at the end of his current contract, in 2018. It was announced in March 2015 that Rattle would become Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra from September 2017. Rattle has conducted a wide variety of music and is best known for his interpretations of late 19th- and early 20th-century composers such as Gustav Mahler.


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