Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Ray Nance (violin, cornet); Harry Carney (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Russell Procope (clarinet, alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Cootie Williams, Roy Burrowes, Cat Anderson (trumpet); Lawrence Brown , Chuck Connors, Buster Cooper (trombone); Ernie Shepard (double bass); Sam Woodyard (drums).
Liner Note Author: Stanley Dance.
As Stanley Dance's detailed and informative liner notes clarify, there were actually four Paris concerts from which this material was drawn. There's an abundance of material on this two-CD set, 30 cuts in all, and it's a luxurious trip through the Duke's extensive repertoire. Ellington was a pro at balancing his audience's desire to hear his classics with his own need to continue composing and presenting new material. So while we get recent (for 1963) creations like "Suite Thursday" and "Theme From The Asphalt Jungle'" we also get to hear the band travel back 30 years or more to reprise some of the original "jungle sound" compositions like "Black And Tan Fantasy," "Creole Love Call" and "The Mooche." This particular incarnation of Ellingtonians is alive and kicking. Duke can be heard hollering encouragement to his men from behind the piano, flirting with the audience (he's not going to tell them the title of the next piece, he explains, because "you're so hip"), and announcing such featured performers as Johnny Hodges, Cootie Williams and Paul Gonsalves. All this, and great sound quality to boot.