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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to add a few more Ellington CDs to my collection, so maybe you Duke fanatics can steer me in the right direction? I'm looking for modern recordings (mid 50s and up) with decent sound. I love the sound of Blues In Orbit, so more along those lines would be great.

Here's what I've got on CD:

Blues In Orbit
Ellington & Armstrong
Ellington & Coltrane
Newport 1956
Money Jungle
Afro Eurasian Eclipse
Ella At Duke's Place
 

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My favorite among those not mentioned yet:



The early 3-disc set with the Blanton-Webster band is classic, but may be a bit older sound / style than you are looking for.
 

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some of my favorites (with a track taken from the album):

Queen suite

Such sweet thunder

Far East Suite

...and his mother called him Bill

Blanton Webster
(it's truly difficult to choose just one track)

Black brown and beige (the one with Mahalia Jackson, if not else for Come sunday)

Ellington Uptown

I have put two (or three? I'm not sure about Le sucrier velour but I'm tempted to think that I'm right) pieces that were actually pieces of Billy Strayhorn. While I love Ellington, I have to say that I like Strayhorn even more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cool! I'll spend some time over the weekend sampling these albums. Such Sweet Thunder sounds very good! And the Piano albums too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Monkster was obviously influenced by Maestro Ellington. That's another album I've been meaning to pick up. Monk Plays Ellington.
 

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Starthrower,

Here are a few of my favorite Ellington recordings from the 1950s onward (excluding discs that you already have):

Masterpieces by Ellington (Sony, 1951)
Long-form renditions of his classics, taking advantage of the new long-play format. "The Tattooed Bride" is a highlight.

Ellington Uptown (Sony, 1951)
Includes one of the best versions of "Take the A Train" ever, sung by Betty Roche.

Piano Reflections (Capitol, 1953)
Highlights Ellington the pianist in a trio setting.

Such Sweet Thunder (Sony, 1957)
Music inspired by Shakespeare.

Happy Reunion (Doctor Jazz/Sony, 1958)
Small group dates featuring Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges and Paul Gonsalves. Not released until after Ellington's passing. Ellington referred to his massive amount of unreleased music as the "stockpile," knowing that it would be released eventually.

Anatomy of a Murder (Sony, 1959)
The soundtrack to the Jimmy Stewart/Lee Remick movie didn't hit me all that hard at first. But the more I listened, the more I admired it. Now I love it.

The Great Paris Concert (Atlantic, 1963)
Cootie Williams returns to the fold, and he sounds fantastic.

All-Star Road Band, Vol. 1 (Doctor Jazz/Sony, 1964)
Another stellar live performance. The middle-60s band was one of Duke's best.

The Far East Suite (RCA, 1966)
"Ad Lib on Nippon" is the highlight, but the whole album is great.

...And His Mother Called Him Bill (RCA, 1967)
Ellington pays tribute to Strayhorn after Strayhorn died. "Lotus Blossom" will break your heart.

The Private Collection, Vol. 5: The Suites (Atlantic/Saja, 1969, 1970)
Some of Duke's greatest music and totally unique. Paul Gonsalves is sublime.

It took me a long time to find my way into Ellington's music. But when I finally did, I fell for it hard. Now, he is doubtless the first artist that I would take to any desert island, my very favorite musician.

One last recommendation: The cheap Sony compilation The Essence of Duke Ellington was instrumental (no pun intended) in helping me find my way inside Ellington's music. It collects music from (mostly) the latter half of the 1930s. I'd strongly recommend giving it a listen too. It really opened my eyes. Songs like "Solitude" and "Azure" are POWERFUL music. The music from this era "unlocked" Ellington's other music for me.

 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
^^^
I've been waiting for you to chime in. Thanks! I'm tempted to pick up the 5 pack original album series, but I hate those unreadable cardboard sleeves. I'll probably get the individual CDs.
 

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^^^
I've been waiting for you to chime in. Thanks! I'm tempted to pick up the 5 pack original album series, but I hate those unreadable cardboard sleeves. I'll probably get the individual CDs.
Have fun. :) I'm sorta jealous that you have all that discovery ahead of you. ;)

One other thing: Don't listen to Ellington as "jazz." Just listen to it as music. Discarding my "jazz preconceptions" opened doors to Ellington's world.
 

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Monk loved Ellington but the fact is that especially in this case it seems that it was Ellington influenced by Monk. As the tune says, "who knows"?
I would argue that Monk was HUGELY influenced by Ellington. Not the other way around.

Just as Ellington was HUGELY influenced by Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Willie "The Lion" Smith.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's the way I listen to everything. I like music with personality, so I listen to Duke as Duke, Monk as Monk, etc... Genres mean nothing to me. It's like Duke said, "there are only two kinds of music..."
 

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Another couple of goodies from his later years:



This one from the late 50s goes under the radar a bit - it's a studio recording with the band still white hot after recent festival appearances, and consisting of some material that had only recently had its teeth cut in live performance (although the twin-drum battle of Duael Fuel may not be to everyone's taste).

 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
^^^
Duke definitely kept things interesting as he got older. He really was a progressive artist, even though he's probably thought of as classic jazz.
 

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I would argue that Monk was HUGELY influenced by Ellington. Not the other way around.
yes I know, altough I would say that Monk had a style that was completely his own (or at least, the influence of Ellington is the least discernable to my ears) in terms of melody, harmony and rhythm. When I hear certain pieces of Mingus or Ralph Burns I can see clearly that they had Ellington and Strayhorn as models. But it's difficult to see tunes like Trinkle tinkle, Humph, Light blue or Well you needn't as something that owes much to Ellington, who even when composed angular or dissonant pieces (Tonk or The clothed woman for instance) sounded completely different. But in that particular tune Duke created a tune that really sounds like something influenced by Monk.
 
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