Duke Ellington has been hailed as a jazz giant, the King of swing and a legend supreme. All these plaudits are right, yet still fail to properly convey the immense musicianship, melodic genius and effortless cool of his music. Duke is simply one of the best and most important musicians in modern history. To Ellington, music was music. He simply claimed he wrote ‘American music’. Whatever you call it, enjoy a fine collection of Ellington’s timeless tunes remastered to perfection on this Rough Guide.

The album opens with a slow laissez-faire ballad for jazz orchestra. The mellow toned saxophone is played by none other than Duke’s colleague and legendary instrumentalist, Johnny Hodges. Other highlights include the track ‘Caravan’, a well known jazz standard written by Juan Tizol and first performed by Duke Ellington. The music features a winding melody with a sustained opening note underpinned with riffing rhythm section. The track is often hailed as the first Latin-Jazz track. ‘Take The A Train’ is known by many as Ellington’s signature tune. Composed by his collaborator Billy Strayhorn the tune propels along with a tight swing feel. ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ is a swaying romantic tune with a swooning brass melody. Legend has it that Ellington, ever the charmer, composed the song spontaneously at a party to pacify two women who had begun arguing with one of his friends. The album features a delightful mix of Ellington’s vintage 1930s style contrasted to the crisper polished style he explored during the 1950s. One example of the latter is heard on ‘The Jeep is Jumpin’’, an up-beat syncopated number with fantastic textural contrasts: from crisp cascading sax solos to minimal piano stabs.

The bonus album, ‘The Rough Guide To Original Jazz Legends’ is an excellent collection of music from musicians that represent Ellington’s inspiration, his contemporaries and those he has influenced. From Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith to Clark Terry – explore the Ellington legacy in greater context with this excellent selection of remastered music. 

Musicians

CD1: Duke Ellington: Reborn And Remastered 

01           Duke Ellington: In A Sentimental Mood (1935)
(Ellington/Kurtz/Mills) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra  - Rex Stewart (cornet), Cootie Williams, Charlie Allen (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick (alto sax, soprano sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (guitar), Billy Taylor (bass), Fred Avendorf (drums) 

02           Duke Ellington: Solitude (1934)
(Ellington/DeLange/Mills) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Cootie Williams, Arthur Whetsol, Freddy Jenkins, Louis Bacon (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (soprano sax, alto sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sac), Harry Carney (baritone sax, alto sax), Fred Guy (banjo, guitar), Wellman Braud (bass), Sonny Greer (drums, train whistle).

03           Duke Ellington: Black and Tan Fantasy (1928)
(Ellington/Miley) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: The Washingtonians: Bubber Miley, Louis Metcalf (trumpet), Joe Nanton (trombone), Rudy Jackson (clarinet, bass-clarinet, tenor sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, soprano sax, bass, sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (banjo), Bas Edwards (tuba), Sonny Greer (drums).

04           Duke Ellington: Take the ‘A’ Train (1941)
(Strayhorn) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra: Rex Stewart (cornet), Wallace Jones, Ray Nance (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, clarinet), Ben Webster (tenor sax, clarinet), Harry Carney (baritone sax, flute), Fred Guy (guitar), Jimmie Blanton (bass), Sonny Greer (drums)

05           Duke Ellington: The Jeep is Jumping (1956)
(Ellington/ Johnny Hodges) pub Avid Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: “Cat” Anderson, Clark Terry, Ray Nance, Willy Cook (trumpet), Britt Woodman, John Sanders, Quentin Jackson (trombone), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Paul Gonzalves (tenor sax), Russell Procope (alto sax, clarinet), Jimmy Hamilton (tenor sax, clarinet), Harry Carney (baritone sax, bass clarinet), Duke Ellington (piano), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sam Woodyard (drums)

06           Duke Ellington: Creole Love Call (1932)
(Ellington/Miley) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra: Cootie Williams, Arthur Whetsol, Freddy Jenkins (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (banjo), Wellman Braud (bass), Sonny Greer (drums), Ivie Anderson (vocals) 

07           Duke Ellington: Caravan (1937)
(Ellington/Tizol) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Rex Stewart (cornet), Cootie Williams, Wallace Jones (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (bass), Sonny Greer (drums)

08           Duke Ellington: Satin Doll  (1953)
(Ellington/Strayhorn) pub Avid Records Ltd.
Musicians: Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance (trumpet), Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman, Juan Tizol (trombone), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor sax), Rick Henderson (alto sax), Russell Procope (clarinet, alto sax), Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), Harry Carney (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Wendell Marshall (bass), Butch Ballard (drums) 

09           Duke Ellington: I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good)  (1941)
(Ellington/Webster) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Rex Stewart (cornet), Wallace Jones, Ray Nance (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone) Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, clarinet), Ben Webster (tenor sax, clarinet), Harry Carney (baritone sax, flute), Fred Guy (guitar), Jimmie Blanton (bass), Sonny Greer (drums), Ivie Anderson (vocals)

10           Duke Ellington: Sophisticated Lady (1933)
(Ellington/Parish) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Arthur Whetsol, Cootie Williams, Freddy Jenkins (trumpet), Joe Nanto, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick (alto sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (guitar), Wellman Braud (bass), Sonny Greer (drums)

11           Duke Ellington: Jeep’s Blues (1956)
(Ellington) pub Columbia / Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, Ray Nance, Clark Terry (trumpet), Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman (trombone), John Sanders (valve-trombone), harry Carney (baritone sax), Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Russell Procope (clarinet, alto sax), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sam Woodyard (drums)

12           Duke Ellington: Echoes of Harlem (Cootie’s Concerto) (1936)
(Ellington/Parish) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra: Rex Stewart (cornet), Cootie Williams, Wallace Jones (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (guitar), Hayes Alvis (bass), Sonny Greer (drums)

13           Duke Ellington: A Flat Minor (1956)
(Ellington/Strayhorn) pub Columbia / Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Cat Anderson, Willie Cook, Ray Nance, Clark Terry (trumpet), Quentin Jackson, John Sanders, Britt Woodman (trombone), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Russell Procope (clarinet and alto sax), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sam Woodyard (drums)

14           Duke Ellington: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (1943)
(Ellington/Russell) pub Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra 

 15           Duke Ellington: Mood Indigo (1930)
(Ellington/Bigard/Mills) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: The Jungle Band: Arthur Whetsol (trumpet), Joe Nanton (trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (banjo), Wellman Braud (bass), Sonny Greer (drums).

16           Duke Ellington: Uptown Downbeat (1936)
(Ellington/Parish) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Arthur Whetsol, Cootie Williams (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax), Harry Carney (clarinet, alto sax, baritone), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, bass sax),  Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (guitar), Hayes Alvis (bass), Sonny Greer (drums)

17           Duke Ellington: Drop Me Off At Harlem (1933)
(Ellington/Carney) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra: Arthur Whetsol, Freddy Jenkins, Cootie Williams (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (vavle-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwick (alto sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (guitar), Wellman Braud (bass), Sonny Greer (drums)

 18           Duke Ellington: Just Squeeze Me (1943) ?? Can’t Find on any of the CD’s.
(Ellington/Carney) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra: Shelton Hemphill, Rex Stewart, Taft Jordan, Cat Anderson (trumpet), Ray Nance, Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown, Claude Jones (trombone), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, trumpets), Otto Hardwicke (clarinet, alto sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Al Sears (tenor sax), Harry Carney (clarinet, alto sax, baritone), Fred Guy (guitar), Junior Raglin (bass), Sonny Greer (drums), Al Hibbler, Joya Sherrill. Kay Davis (voices).  

19           Duke Ellington: Perdido (1942)
(Tizol) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra: Rex Stewart (cornet), Wallace Jones, Ray Nance (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Brigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, clarinet), Ben Webster (tenor sax, clarinet), Harry Carney (baritone sax, flute), Fred Guy (guitar), Jimmie Blanton (bass), Sonny Greer (drums) 

20           Duke Ellington: Bojangles (A Portrait Of Bill Robinson) (1940)
(Ellington) pub Proper Records Ltd.
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra: Rex Stewart (cornet), Cootie Williams, Wallace Jones (trumpet), Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve-trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Johnny Hodges (alto sax, soprano sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, bass sax), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax, clarinet, alto sax), Duke Ellington (piano), Fred Guy (guitar), Jimmie Blanton (bass), Sonny Greer (drums) 

CD2 - Bonus CD: Original Jazz Legends

 01           Ella Fitzgerald: The E and D Blues (Ella for Ella, D For Duke) (1957)
(Ellington) pub Delta Leisure Group Plc.
Musicians: The Duke Ellington Orchestra with Ella Fitzgerald.

02           Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges: Basin Street Blues (1959)
(Williams) pub Universal Music Company
Musicians: Duke Ellington (piano), Johnny Hodge (alto sax), Harry “Sweets” Edison (trumpet), Les Spann (guitar), Sam Jones (bass), Jo Jones (drums)

 03           Louis Armstrong:  Don't Get Around Much Any More (1957)
(Spencer Williams) pub Universal Music Company 
Musicians: Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra Feat. Louis Armstrong

04           Clark Terry: Serenade to A Bus Seat (1957)
(Terry) pub Riverside Records
Musicians: Clark Terry (trumpet), Johnny Griffin (tenor sax), Wynton Kelly (drums), Paul Chambers (bass), Philly Joe Jones (drums)

05           Oscar Peterson: Rockin' In Rhythm (1957)   
(Ellington/Howell Carney) pub Polygram Records Inc.
Musicians: Oscar Peterson (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Ray Brown (bass)

06           Count Basie: Segue in C (1958)
(Wess) pub EMI Records Ltd.
Musicians: Snooky Young, Wendell Culley, Thad Jones, Joe Newman (trumpets), Henry Coker, Al Grey, Benny Powell (trombone), Marshal Royal (alto sax, clarinet), Frank Wess (alto sax, flute), Frank Foster, Billy Mitchell (tenor saxes), Charles Fowlkes (baritone sax, bass clarinet), Count Basie (piano), Freddie Green (guitar), Eddie Jones (bass), Sonny Payne (drums)

07           Thelonius Monk: It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing (1955)
(Ellington/Miley) pub Riverside Records
Musicians: Thelonius Monk (piano), Oscar Pettiford (bass), Kenny Clarke (drums)

08           Duke Ellington and Paul Gonsalves: Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue (1957)
(Ellington) pub Lone Hill Jazz
Musicians: Duke Ellington (piano), Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), Jimmy Woode (bass), Sam Woodyard (drums)

09           Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine: 'Stormy Monday Blues (1942)
(Hines/Eckstine/Crowder) pub Definitive Records
Musicians: Earl Hines And His Orchestra: George Dixon, Pee Wee Jackson, Shorts McConnell, Jesse Miller (trumpet) Jo McLewis, George Hunt, Gerry Valentine (trombone), Budd Johnson, Robert Crowder (tenor sax), Leroy Harris, Scoops Carry (alto sax), Earl Hines (piano), Clifford Best (guitar), Truck Parham (bass), Rudy Traylor (drums), Billy Eckstine (vocals)

 10           Fats Waller: Honeysuckle Rose  (1937) 
(Waller) pub Avid Records Ltd.
Musicians: Fats Waller And His Rhythm

 11           Jelly Roll Morton: King Porter (A Stomp) (1923)
(Morton) pub Edel Records
Musicians: Jelly Roll Morton (piano)

12           Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith: Stormy Weather (1950)
(William Smith) pub Classics Records 
Musicians: Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith (piano)