Bringing alive the music of Duke Ellington

Transcriptions by Michael Kilpatrick

With the exit of Johnny Hodges, Lawrence Brown and Sonny Greery, a whole new era would dawn when Ellington brought in more modern drummers and the tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves. Unfortunately the great loss of his star alto saxophonist came not long before a great downturn in the prospects of larger jazz orchestras. The be-pop era had emerged.

Duke Ellington recorded with Capitol for a few years, but these sessions were not reissued, either on LP or then on CD, anything like as often as the material of the earlier decades or the post Newport era. Conbsequently the Capitol years are perhaps as the most obscure of Ellington's. Nevertheless, there are some real gems to be discovered here, accompanied by significant improvements in the fidelity of sound recording. Ellington was very lucky in being able to support his orchestra through the tough times by means of royalty income. For the rest of his career he would continue to indulge in experimentation and recording in the studio regardless of whether the session were intended to be issued or not!