Full performer name: Duke Ellington & His Orchestra/Mercer Ellington.
Duke Ellington Orchestra includes: Mercer Ellington (conductor); Harold Minerve, Maurice Simon (alto saxophone); Harold Ashby, Ricky Ford, Anatole Gerasimov (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney, Joe Temperley (baritone saxophone); Cootie Williams, James "Buddy" Bolden, Money Johnson, Barry Lee Hall, Calvin Ladner (trumpet); Chuck Connors, Vince Prudente, Art Baron (trombone); LLoyd Mayers (piano); Edward Ellington II (guitar); J.J. Wiggins (bass); Freddie Waits (drums).
Recorded in Chicgo Illinois and New York, New York in 1974 & 1975.
Personnel: Mercer Ellington (trumpet); Harold "Geezil" Minerve, Maurice Simon (alto saxophone); Anatole Gerasimou, Harold Ashby, Ricky Ford (tenor saxophone); Joe Temperley (baritone saxophone); Cootie Williams, Barrie Lee Hall, Jr., Money Johnson (trumpet); Art Baron, Chuck Connors (trombone); Lloyd Mayers (piano); Frederick Waits (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Kirk Felton.
Liner Note Author: Stanley Dance.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (07/16/1974-05/12/1975); New York, NY (07/16/1974-05/12/1975).
Photographer: Phil Bray.
Although Duke Ellington passed away on May 24, 1974, this posthumous effort can be thought of as his orchestra's final record. Duke's son Mercer took over the big band and at least for a short time still had some surviving veterans in which to form a nucleus. Baritonist Harry Carney is heard on two numbers (taking a solo on "Drop Me Off in Harlem") from the first session before he too passed away. Also quite prominent is trumpeter Cootie Williams along with such new (and temporary) bandmembers as tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford, trumpeter Barry Lee Hall, trombonist Art Baron and altoist Geezil Minerve. The music (which includes the tribute "Carney," a fine feature for the band's new baritonist Joe Temperley) is very much in the Ellington style and mostly consists of updated remakes of Ducal standards. This disc provides a fine finish for the classic jazz institution. ~ Scott Yanow