Thursday, October 1, 2015

Solo Duke

Well, I wanted to write a wise post on some classic results about on (Pareto) stability of a growing economy (in short, cain't be done, son), but I couldn't think of anything to say that would be interesting. But then I saw this and of course anything I'd say would pale in comparison. I love that Duke starts with Fluerette Africain, a number he wrote (for Charles Mingus - Duke's best work was always specific) relatively recently to this recording. It shows Duke's influence from Monk, an influence that Duke thanked Monk for at every opportunity! (of course, Monk was deeply influenced by Duke as well - and first)

Coleman Hawkins & Duke Ellington

Well, I guess I should give my opinions on the essential Duke... nothing like judging great artists and great men. Well, I bend strongly toward the weird. Money Jungle - played by the trio of Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach - is definitely on the list. Music should have big personality, that was Duke's philosophy. Ellington At Newport is a better portrait of his general sound. Of course, one of his very best albums is his tribute to his long time music director and close friend Billy Strayhorn ... And His Mother Called Him Bill. But, of course, this doesn't feature Ellington's compositions. Billy Strayhorn's style is instantly distinguishable from Duke's, I don't consider myself a connoisseur and I've never once confused them in my life. Billy was better educated than Duke, and Strayhorn's style was ... educated, urbane melancholy. Ellington tended to break rules more innocently and with more dramatic effect. Of course, & John Coltrane and Meets Coleman Hawkins are great for post-bop enthusiasts like myself. Some might argue that Coleman Hawkins and pre-bop rather than post-bop. The use of "rather than" rather than "as well as" is their only mistake.

 I think this is the right orchestra...

 Once more modern albums have got you used to the Ellington genius, try The Blanton-Webster Band, which captures his 40's sound. People not used to 40's sound should not jump into the old material with both feet. Good recording technology is a blessing. Well, that's my attempt to give my favorite albums. Of course, there's collections galore, but I can't sort through all those.

I also wouldn't try to introduce someone to 40's music through Ellington - it was too innovative. It's a double whammy of intricate compositions and old fashioned sound. I'd try the great Louis Jordan, though it might trick people into thinking music in the 40's was any good. Good place to start, other than the earlier links, is his classic story of getting beat up and arrested at a raucous party.

No comments:

Post a Comment