Personnel includes: Duke Ellington (piano); Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, Paul Gonsalves (saxophone); Ray Nance, Willie Cook, Andres Merenguito (trumpet); Lawrence Brown, "Booty" Wood (trombone); Aaron Bell (bass); Sam Woodyard (drums).
Includes original release liner notes by Irving Townsend.
Digitally remastered by Larry Keyes (CBS Records Studio, New York, New York).
Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Russell Procope, Paul Horn (saxophone); Andres Meringuito, Eddie Mullins, Ray Nance, Willie Cook (trumpet); Lawrence D. Brown, Juan Tizol, Lawrence Brown , Matthew Gee, Booty Wood, Britt Woodman (trombone); Sam Woodyard (drums).
Audio Remixer: Larry Keyes.
Liner Note Author: Irving Townsend.
Recording information: 03/03/1960-10/10/1960.
Photographer: Frank Driggs.
For Duke Ellington (and his right hand man, Billy Strayhorn), no color existed that couldn't be encompassed within their musical rainbow. Having reinvented the popular song form, Ellington towered over the swing era, defining and redefining the American orchestral idiom a thousand times over. In the later part of his career Ellington devoted much of his creative energy to a series of suites. These thematic works ranged from Duke's deeply devotional SACRED CONCERTS to an array of third world influenced pieces (such as THE LATIN AMERICAN SUITE and THE AFRO-EURASIAN ECLIPSE).
Some of Ellington's most enduring works in this form are gathered together on THREE SUITES, which has become something of a Chrismas perennial thanks to Duke's adaptation of Tchaikovsky's holiday favorite, "The Nutcracker Suite" (and Grieg's equally popular melodies from "Peer Gynt Suites #1 & 2"). Ellington and Strayhorn appropriate a melange of classic thematic materials, faithfully rendering the melodies while mixing in their characteristic horn colorations and chordal voicings--imparting an idiomatic sense of American swing.
There's nothing labored or corny about their renditions, either, from the brash, brassy drive of "Peanut Brittle Brigade," the African inflections of "Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance Of The Sugar-Plum Fairy)" and the musical typewriter of "Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)." Equally fascinating is Grieg's "In The Hall Of The Mountain King." But it's the Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration on "Suite Thursday" that best demonstrates their genius for elasticity of form, orchestral color, propulsive swing, and sustained melodic invention.