Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Norris Turney (alto saxophone, clarinet, flute); Russell Procope (alto saxophone, clarinet); Paul Gonsalves, Harold Ashby (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone); Cootie Williams, Money Johnson, Mercer Ellington, Eddie Preston (trumpet); Booty Wood, Malcolm Taylor (trombone); Chuck Connors (bass trombone); Joe Benjamin (bass); Rufus Jones (drums).
Recorded at National Recording Studio, New York, New York on February 17, 1971. Originally released on Fantasy (9498). Includes liner notes by Stanley Dance.
Digital remastered by Gary Hobish (1991, Fantasy Studio, Berkeley, California).
Recorded in 1971, THE AFRO-EURASIAN ECLIPSE reads in many ways like a follow-up to the 1967 epic FAR EAST SUITE. Compelling, cosmopolitan and organic, this music comes from Ellington's sifting of travel experiences, and it sounds as if he is using his impressions of places and peoples rather than appropriations of 'authentic' scales and rhythms. "Chinoiserie" is boisterous and fun, with long-tone horn peals forming the melodic cornerstone. Tenorman Harold Ashby takes his place blowing pure swing.
"Afrique" is a percussion-based piece, with a liberal layering of the horn players' entrances - creating strains that are at first incongruous, then tie briefly together towards the middle of the affair. Preceded by the more even-tempered melodic and rhythmic structures of "Acht" and "Gong," "Tang" takes the picture to the outer limits again with strident opening horn blasts that yield to staccato call-and-responses that chill to the bone. All in all, a textured, cross-cultural treat for the ears.