Jazziz - 3/93, p.62
"...contains the original full-length version of Ellington's 'Black, Brown, And Beige,' one of his greatest and lengthiest works. In addition, there are plenty of specialties for Duke's many unique soloists..."
Personnel: Duke Ellington (leader, arranger, piano); Betty Roche (vocals); Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Harry Carney, Otto Hardwicke, Chauncey Haughton (reeds); Ray Nance (trumpet, violin); Rex Stewart, Harold Baker, Wallace Jones (trumpet); Tricky Sam Nanton, Juan Tizol, Lawrence Brown (trombone); Fred Guy (guitar); Junior Raglin (bass); Sonny Greer (drums).
Recorded live at Carnegie Hall, New York, New York on January 23, 1943. Includes liner notes by Orrin Keepnews and Leonard Feather.
Digitally remastered by Joe Tarantino (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Betty Roch‚ (vocals); Fred Guy (guitar); Ray Nance (violin, trumpet); Harry Carney, Chauncey Houghton, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick, Ben Webster (reeds); Harold Baker, Rex Stewart, Shorty Baker, Wallace Jones (trumpet); Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton, Juan Tizol, Lawrence Brown (trombone); Sonny Greer (drums).
Liner Note Authors: Leonard Feather; Orrin Keepnews.
Recording information: Carnegie Hall, New York, NY (01/23/1943).
Unknown Contributor Roles: Jack Towers; Billy Strayhorn; Junior Raglin.
Arrangers: Duke Ellington; Billy Strayhorn.
Throughout the '40s, the Carnegie Hall concerts by Duke Ellington and his orchestra were the annual high points of jazz performance. Freed from the constraints of the dances that made up most of the Duke's live schedule, the Carnegie Hall concerts gave Ellington an opportunity to explore his longer, classical-influenced pieces as well as the pop tunes that made the band's reputation.
Opening with a stirring "Star-Spangled Banner" (it was the middle of World War II, remember), the orchestra alternates between favorites like "Rockin' in Rhythm" and impressionistic tone poems like the three-part "Portraits" mini-suite. The centerpiece is a brilliant presentation of Ellington's lengthy "Black, Brown and Beige," one of his most artistically satisfying extended pieces. After this tour de force, the orchestra plays a few favorites, like "Don't Get Around Much Anymore," before closing with a spirited "Mood Indigo." This two-disc concert beautifully captures all aspects of Ellington's wartime band.