Down Beat - 5/92, p.454 Stars
- Very Good - "..Although the band was between peaks, it still held high ground and Gonsalves was in fine form for this outing.."
Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone); Roy Burrowes, Cat Anderson, Bill Berry, Ray Nance (trumpet); Lawrence Brown, Leon Cox, Chuck Connors (trombone); Aaron Bell (bass); Sam Woodyard (drums).
Recorded at A&R Studio, New York, New York on May 1, 1962. Originally released on Fantasy (9636). Includes original liner notes by Stanley Dance.
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Johnny Hodges (saxophone, alto saxophone); Harry Carney (saxophone, baritone saxophone); Russell Procope (alto saxophone); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Ray Nance, William Cat Anderson, Bill Berry , Roy Burrowes, Cat Anderson (trumpet); Chuck Conners, Leon Cox, Lawrence Brown , Chuck Connors (trombone); Sam Woodyard (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil DeLancie.
Liner Note Author: Stanley Dance.
Recording information: A & R Studio, NY (05/01/1962); A&R Studios, New York, NY (05/01/1962).
Photographer: Baron Wolman.
This is a wonderful and rather unusual Ellington outing. Eschewing the revolving-spotlight ethic usually favored by the Duke, this disc features tenor-sax icon Paul Gonsalves fronting the Orchestra in a run-through of some of their best-known tunes. As usual, Gonsalves is in fine form, and his chops and imaginative improvisations are shown off to splendid effect. Relaxed, laid-back versions of "C-Jam Blues" and "Take The 'A' Train" frame the saxophonist's statement of themes with slow, lyrical passages and-at the end of "'A' Train"-blazing jams and unaccompanied codas.
Gonsalves blows both hot and cool on such blues numbers as "Happy-Go-Lucky Local" and the jump-up "Ready, Go" (from Ellington's RED CARPET SUITE.) With Ellington leading at the ivories and the Orchestra providing solid, dynamically fluctuating backing, Gonsalves turns in an album full of worthwhile performances. He acquits himself as one of the ensemble's deftest, most versatile, and most powerful players.