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The Blanton Webster Import

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Page Artiste Duke Ellington

Détails sur le produit

  • CD (15 février 1993)
  • Nombre de disques: 3
  • Format : Import
  • Label: Bluebird
  • ASIN : B000025MR1
  • Autres éditions : CD  |  Cassette  |  Album vinyle  |  Téléchargement MP3
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.5 étoiles sur 5 28 commentaires
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Ellington's most legendary band among the connoisseurs. 22 février 2010
Par Sam Chell - Publié sur
Format: CD Achat vérifié
I've just come away from the French Classic "Duke Ellington: 1942-44." The music and recording quality are more than I could have expected, simply sublime. Yet it's not the Blanton-Webster band, which was the preceding two years--tracks including unequaled classics like "Harlem Airshaft" and "Ko Ko." Since I already have the celebrated "Fargo Concert" as well as the LP's of the Blanton-Webster edition of the band, I was tempted to wait for a CD reissue that's at least as well mastered as the French edition of the band, 1942-1944.

The great misfortune to us all--if not scandal--is that ever since Ken Burns' wonderful series for PBS, jazz has again gone on the skids (notwithstanding a few isolated summer festivals and some of the Lincoln Center events). The American public doesn't even have ears for instrumental music let alone Ellington. If it's not vocals, guitars, and reductive sounds (or reductively loud), the music scarcely has a chance in the American marketplace. The last great tribute to Ellington was the Columbia/Sony remastering of the "Ellington at Newport '56" album, which by itself made the case for the value and potential of digital technology. Sony invested tens if not hundreds of thousands in the project, and some listeners have yet to grasp that such an event is not about to be repeated--at least not during any of our lifetimes. Your best bet for a lovingly remastered edition of these precious tracks--recordings representative of an African-American art form at its very best (compare these complex miniatures to Shakespeare's sonnets)--is a Spanish or French reissue.

Nevertheless, this RCA package is the equal of my two RCA LPs representing the band, it has additional tracks for which there was not room on the LPs, and the booklet is more informative and completely documented. It definitely belongs in the selective list of the top ten--if not top five--Ellington essential recordings. (The others would have to be "Ellington Uptown," "Such Suite Thunder," "The Nutcracker Suite," "Blue Rose." But that's not enough: you must have "Ellington at 'Newport '56," which was his best-selling LP recording, as well as "A Drum Is a Woman," "Black Brown and Beige," and a number of personal favorites that I won't list lest they discourage listeners from making their own discoveries in the universe of Ellington. I wouldn't list the Ellington-Coltrane album (in fact, the Ellington-Hawkins, Ellington-Fitzgerald, Ellington-Armstrong albums are more essential than the one with Coltrane, which, though often listed as the best-seller among Ellington albums, is largely an iconic meeting, with minimal Ellington. The meeting between the Ellington and Basie bands has more solid music from both legends. And for Ellington playing piano with modernists, "Money Jungle" with Mingus and Roach is better than the date with Coltrane. And despite what you may have heard, there's much of great appeal and quality on the three Sacred Music Concerts.

Finally, for an album that's practically miraculous, since long-playing tracks would not be in release for another ten years, the "Fargo Concert" reproduces a lot of the material on this collection but from a live, back-stage perspective in which the listener is plopped down in the midst of the band in 1940.

Coda: After listening again to Herb Jeffries' flawless, masterful singing on Strayhorn's nnovative arrangement of "Flamingo," I must issue a cautionary. Thinking I would save the time of going to the box set, I entered the words "Jeffries" and "Flamingo" in Amazon's search box and was greeted by no fewer than six non-Ellington, non-Strayhorn versions of the tune (the original interweaves Jeffries vocal instrument with the equally distinctive instrumental voices of Lawrence Brown and Johnny Hodges). The six tunes ranged from the ordinary to the atrocious (4 were disco mixes!). If you go this route, enter the tune under Ellington's name, not Jeffries'. As for audio quality, the later edition ("No Lament") has more bass frequencies and less evidence of surface noise or distortion. At the same time, I find that Jeffries' voice has slightly more presence, naturalness, authenticity on this version than on the more recent one. (There are usually trade-offs when remastering a previous edition--with the exception of the inarguably superior 1999 remastering of "Ellington at Newport '56.")
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Is this really a new edition?? 17 avril 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: CD Achat vérifié
If you listen to lots of Ellington, or jazz in general, this is a series of recordings that one does not tire of. It is really Duke's apex, with the help of Strayhorn. Reviewer from Seattle WA says this new edition is improved. I really hope so, and will buy another set -- under protest, having bought my first CD version about 12 years ago. The first (incompetent engineers/producer no doubt) not only lost first notes of "A Train" they did the same for "Warm Valley" and really blew the piano solo in the beautiful "Blue Serge" named for Sergei Rachmaninov. The piano sounded like it was played during an earthquake, or rather that the tape was severely damaged. It was an appalling blooper that was never apologized for -- one of the US' 20th century masterpieces spoiled through incompetence and marketed as such through sheer arrogance. Let's hope this IS a NEW VERSION for the centennial. I have fumed long enough over this loss. Without question, any jazz collection should have these sides.
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Old problems persist! 26 avril 1999
Par ABH457 - Publié sur
Format: CD Achat vérifié
I have to disagree with the review of "Music Fan from Seattle WA" dated May 11, 1998, who claims the "little 'faux pas' (of the previous edition) have been ironed out." "Music Fan from Westchester" dated April 17, 1999 is correct. They persist. I now have a 12-13 year old set and one sent last week by Amazon. The problems referred to -- which did not exist on earlier earlier LPs, nor on some foreign CDs -- are still there in all their gory. Unless Amazon sent me old stock, RCA (that is, General Electric) has had the slovenliness not to redigitize these recordings for the Duke Ellington Centennial (April 29) over a period of 13 years. The good news is that those who are not familiar with this music may notice little wrong. Those who are may find it akin to publishing the American Constitution with several ugly typos! I suggest that the best approach to acquiring this music is to buy one of the foreign CDs (e.g. RCA/GE France: Indispensable Ellington vols 5/6 and 7/8 on the Black and White label). It would be interesting to see if the Complete RCA recordings are similarly marred. I certainly won't buy them until I know for sure. Five stars for the music, but minus at least one for the slick accountants at GE/RCA.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Digital manipulation isn't magic 18 janvier 2012
Par Knight Hawk - Publié sur
Format: Cassette
Some people have complained that the sound quality of this CD set isn't as good as they expected. But I find it curious that the later release of this material, titled "Never No Lament", with digital masters taken from RCA's (BMG's?) new mammoth Centennial boxed set, has achieved a lower overall customer rating than this older CD set. It seems that some Amazon reviewers are not satisfied with the sound achieved on the new set, either.

Personally, I find the sound on this Blanton-Webster set to be excellent, overall. Yes, there are a few blemishes (off-centered pressing of "Sepia Panorama" being the most annoying.) As for muffled sound, I simply bump the treble up a bit. Voila! crispness, punch, and presence is there, along with some surface noise, distortion, and increased risk of listener fatigue.

These are 78's, good people. Even the metal stampers have more noise and distortion than we of the digital age are used to. And some of these precious sides have come down to our generation only on noisy worn shellacs. Digital manipulation is not magic. When over-applied it can wreak more havoc than it cures, resulting in clipping, harshness, etc. This Bluebird set, too, was digitally mastered, but the engineers thankfully chose restraint over excess.

I have been an Ellington collector since the 1970's, and I have never heard these sides sound this fine. Compared to the wonderful French RCA 24-LP set "Works of Duke", these CDs generally sound better, especially on my high-end audio system. That's saying quite a lot, as the French vinyl pressings are excellent. I never dreamed I'd ever hear this music so well preserved and am quite content with this fine RCA offering.

Update to the above: I have now listened to RCA's newest release of this material, titled "Never No Lament: The Blanton--Webster Band". I feel compelled to report that the sound quality achieved with that new set IS significantly improved on most tracks. It sounds like still more metal stampers have surfaced (amazingly!!), and later generation software tools have enabled the audio engineers to seemingly perform magic in further restoring the sound.

The new mix is better, with improved tonal balance and better volume balance from track to track. The new mix's sound is brighter, and noise and artifacts are reduced on most tracks, although lifting the dark veil of high-frequency suppression did bring forth a bit more distortion caused by 70 years of record wear. But, most listeners will probably appreciate hearing more of the upper registers, even at the cost of some occasional harshness. Thankfully, the terrible off-center 'wow' on "Sepia Panorama" is now gone! Perhaps this is a newly discovered metal stamper? Although a few shellac sources with their somewhat higher distortion were still necessary, the noise and distortion even on these tracks is nevertheless improved. Indeed, these remaining shellac pressings show the most improvement, which is most likely the result of conscientious and painstaking labor of a most technical kind.

While these tracks may not be perfect, I suspect they are very nearly as good as is humanly possible given the current state-of-the-art of audio restoration. Kudos to the dedicated engineers! Future generations will now be able to discover for themselves, in remarkable fidelity, the supreme artistry of Duke's fabulous Blanton--Webster Band of 1940-42.

If you are a hopeless Ellington lover like me, or a staunch collector who already owns this earlier Bluebird 3-CD set, the newest set is a must-have. (Hey RCA or BMG, how about offering an upgrade rebate toward "Never No Lament", for those of us who bought this Bluebird set and ship it back to you?) For those who don't already have this Bluebird set, then definitely go for the newer set.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 In Honor Of The 110th Birthday Anniversary Of Duke Ellington 9 juillet 2009
Par Alfred Johnson - Publié sur
Format: CD
Those who follow the reviews in this space may have read a response to a commenter that I wrote recently in reviewing John Cohen's (from the old folk group The New Lost City Ramblers) "There Is No Eye: Music For Photographs" CD. That CD contained many country blues, urban folk, city blues and rural mountain musical treats (as well as a little tribute to the "beats" of the 1950's). The gist of my comment was an attempt to draw a connection between my leftist sympathies and the search for American roots music that has driven many of my reviews lately. That said, no one, at least no one with any sense of the American past can deny the importance of the emergence of jazz as a quintessentially American black music form of expression. In short, roots music. And if you want to look at the master, or at least one of the masters (if you need to include King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, as well), of the early years of this genre then look no further- you are home. Duke is in his castle.

Now I am by no means a jazz aficionado. In fact, if anything, I am a Johnnie-come- lately to an appreciation of jazz. More to the point as a youth I never really liked it (except some of the more bluesy-oriented pieces that I would occasionally hear like Armstrong's "Potato Blues" that I was crazy for when I first heard them) as against the other musical genres that I was interested in. Then, with all the hoopla over Duke's 100th birthday anniversary ten years ago, in 1999, I decided to investigate further. I had to ask someone what would be a good CD of Duke's to listen to. This Blanton-Webster Band of 1940-42 was what was suggested. And that person was not wrong. This thing is hot, extremely hot.

Remember these Ellington tone poems, that is all I can think to call them, were done back in the day when dukes, counts, kings, queens and empresses ruled the jazz empire. Others may have their favorites from this period but can one really beat a jazz combo that has Cootie Williams, Barney Bigard, Harry Carney, Jimmy Blanton, Ben Webster and my favorite Ellington player, tenor sax man Johnny Hodges, on it. You had better go "big" if you're going to beat that group of talented musicians. Okay, what about the pieces. On Disc One how about a jumping "Jack The Bear, "Ko-Ko', "Dusk" and "In A Mellotone". On Disc Two "Five O'clock Whistle", the classic "Take The "A" Train", "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) and "Blue Serge". On Disc Three, a sultry carib-flavored "Moon Over Cuba", the sardonic "Rocks In My Bed", "Perdido", the haunting "Moon Mist" and the famous "Sentimental Lady". Nice. I may not be a jazz aficionado but that isn't a bad list, is it?
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