Wednesday 26 September 2007

Duke Ellington - Such Sweet Thunder (1957)



"Such Sweet Thunder was, like Black, Brown and Beige and the later Far East Suite and other works of the late-1950s and on, a long-form study broken into identifiable miniatures that could stand alone as tunes. But this one was far more unlikely than Ellington and co-composer Billy Strayhorn's other suites, with its focus on characters developed by William Shakespeare. Pieces were scripted for both centuries-old characters and Ellington band members; for example, Paul Gonsalves's tenor sax and Johnny Hodges's alto parry as a musical Romeo and Juliet on "Star-Crossed Lovers". Surely this description of the CD makes it sound stiff, even pretentious, but the music gives the lie to such an assumption.

Ellington was a master of sectional polyphony, making sure his band's sections swung individually and then in tandem with the other sections, creating a powerful, sometimes swirling swing. But he had Strayhorn, who was also a master of creating moods and ambient textures. And that's where this session becomes fascinating, in the moments when the group creates something other than rhythmic propulsion, standard harmony or even focused melody. Rounding out the original LP issue--which accounts for only half of this CD's length--are a host of alternate takes, three of them wholly or partially unreleased until this set".
Andrew Bartlett

1. Such Sweet Thunder
2. Sonnet for Caesar
3. Sonnet to Hank Cinq
4. Lady Mac
5. Sonnet in Search of a Moor
6. Telecasters
7. Up and Down, Up and Down
8. Sonnet for Sister Kate
9. Star Crossed Lovers
10. Madness in Great Ones
11. Half the Fun
12. Circle of Fourths
13. Star Crossed Lovers (alternate take)
14. Circle of Fourths (alternate take)
15. Suburban Beauty
16. A-Flat Minor
17. Café au Lait
18. Half the Fun (alternate take)
19. Suburban Beauty (alternate take)
20. A-Flat Minor (out-take)
21. Café au Lait (aka Star Crossed Lovers; out-take)
22. Pretty Girl

link @192 (here again)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

a re-up please please?

orleyfarm said...

I missed this the first time around. Any chance you could post it again?

I'm excited to explore your blog more.

Bravo Juju said...

We'll provide a re-up in a few days.