The Digital Jungle
Richard Ehrenzeller reviews the most recent DVD releases involving Ellington
- added/modified 20060913
Duke Ellington The Centennial Collection, on the Bluebird or BMG label #82876-6009-2
All five Ellington Soundies are on this Steve Lasker/Barry Feldman DVD and CD package. It includes the DVD with the Soundies plus Jamboree, Symphony in Black, Record Making With Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, and an interview. The CD has Black and Tan Fantasy, East St. Louis Toodle-O (sic), The Mooch (sic), Old Man Blues, Mood Indigo, Rockin' in Rhythm, Stompy Jones, Solitude, Jack the Bear, Ko-Ko, Concerto For Cootie, Dusk, Perdido, Are You Sticking?, Chelsea Bridge, Love Like This Can't Last, Moon Mist, It's Square But It Rocks, In a Mellow Tone and Sepia Panorama. The last 7 are previously unreleased HJ remote broadcasts from the Casa Manana in Culver City (Feb 1941) and the Trianon Ballroom in South Gate (mid June 1941).
- added/modified 20070305
Duke Ellington Swinging At His Best 45 great minutes of music.
Black and white Passport Video DVD 1602, released in 2004. There is no information on the cover or label about the originating films. It begins with the soundies Cottontail and Flamingo from late 1941. The video quality is excellent in both. We next jump back in time to Rockin' In Rhythm and Stormy Weather, both from the 1933 film Bundle of Blues. In this first appearance of Ivy Anderson on film with Ellington, the band is very relaxed, and at one point the trumpet and trombone sections are seen swaying from side to side as they listen to Brown's solo. This song features some nice outdoor rainy weather scenes, and I like the way then segue from scene to scene. The next tune up is labelled Blow by Blow, but I think it's Bugle Call Rag, shortened to 1:30 instead of the 1:50 indicated by Stratemann. The piece features two dancers, Florence Hill and Bessie Dudley, and Mills Blue Rhythm guitarist Benny James subs for Fred Guy. Again, good quality black and white, good sound. We then skip two decades to the 1952 Snader Transcriptions, beginning with Sophisticated Lady 11:24:01 AM 9/1/2006. Its opening is Carney soloing on bass clarinet, with Hamilton noodling in the background. The second reed soloist is Willie Smith on alto sax. Following is the Snader Caravan, led with a Cat Anderson solo in the back row with the guys on either side of him playing percussion toys. Tizol is then featured, closeup, followed by Hamilton, and then Nance. Note Stratemann , page 334, says Nance's solo is vocal, but it's not, it's violin. Tizol comes back to finish up. We now see the clarinet trio of Carney, Procope and Hamilton, flanked by Nance, in The Mooche, with Bellson giving the jungle-like tomtom beat behind them. We also see that clarinet duet that is also played on the Uptown recording of The Mooche, and we can see Procope's low lead answered by Hamilton, seated with the band. Butter Jackson takes the trombone solo, with plunger over pixie mute. The out is the trio and Nance, again. VIP's Boogie starts with a long Carney bari solo, followed by about half the band taking solos, each introduced by Duke, and Cat ends it up high. Solitude opens with a trio of Jackson and Woodman on trombone with Carney on bari. A young Jimmy Grissom aces the vocal, bringing it to a close. Segue to Mood Indigo , with Carney on bass clarinet, fenced in by the slides of Jackson and Woodman. Procope comes to the fore, then Willie Cook on trumpet. His mute is sort of a half globe with a straight mute sticking out. The last number is The Hawk Talks, where we get a glimpse of Nance's stage persona, as he struts with a bounce in front of Duke. I highly recommend this video. Sound and video quality throughout is excellent, and we can see the band as it existed at three distinct periods in its history.
Reviewed by David Palmquist- added 20060901
Back to http://ellingtonweb.ca