JazzTimes - 8/03, pp.143-4
"...The enthusiastic New York audiences obviously motivated the band, and they deliver inspired renditions of 'Caravan', 'Harlem Airshaft', 'Old King Dooji' and rip-roaring rendition of Buck Clayton's 'Hollywood Hangover'..."
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Duke Ellington (arranger, piano); BIlly Strayhorn (arranger, piano); Al Hibbler, Joya Sherrill, Kay Davis, Marie Ellington (vocals); Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick (alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Al Sears (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet); Rex Stewart, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance, Taft Jordan, Sheldon Hemphill (trumpet); Joseph Nanton, Lawrence Brown, Claude Jones (trombone); Fred Guy (guitar); Junior Raglin, Al Lucas (bass); Sonny Greer (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York on June 30 & July 7, 1945.
The seventh two-CD set in the important Treasury Shows series that reissues Duke Ellington's radio broadcasts of his Treasury shows of 1945-1946 has more than its share of worthy music. Reissued in full are the broadcasts of June 30 and July 7, 1945, plus additional material performed at the Caf? Zanzibar on October 7 and 17 of the same year. Although this particular edition of the Ellington Orchestra has long been underrated, Duke's 1945 band had 11 major soloists in addition to the full-time writing of Billy Strayhorn. Ellington's promos are a bit difficult to sit through and one of them inexcusably comes in the middle of a four-song Strayhorn medley, but in general those can be skipped. It is worth it for the valuable music, which includes such numbers as "Caravan," "Honeysuckle Rose," a transformation of "One O'Clock Jump," a revival of "Old King Dooji," "Blue Belles of Harlem," "The Perfume Suite," and "Ring Dem Bells." "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue," which at the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival would sandwich a marathon Paul Gonsalves tenor solo, in this setting are bridged by "Carnegie Blues." Of the many soloists, tenor saxophonist Al Sears and trombonist Tricky Sam Nanton are standouts, as are altoist Johnny Hodges and the many trumpeters. All of the entries in this valuable series are well worth acquiring by Ellington fans. ~ Scott Yanow