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The Complete 1932-1940 Bruns./Col./Master Rec. of Ellington and His Famous Orchestra (#248)Mosaic Records Limited Edition Box Set
“He is a veritable poet of sounds and the range of his sensibility is astonishing” - Dan Morgenstern, Living With Jazz
Limited Edition: 5,000 copies
11 CDs - $179.00
The DEFINITIVE Limited Edition Box Set.
After achieving youthful acclaim in Washington, and making a successful move to New York fronting (at first) small jazz groups, Duke Ellington entered the 1930s with an expanded line-up and an increasingly creative approach to composing. Weekly radio broadcasts and swank guests in the audience spread the word; Hollywood noticed his marquee smile and musical brilliance; and the orchestra began touring extensively, including trips to Europe. His fame and popularity were on the rise.
But more importantly, Ellington entered the '30s having perfected his method of using the group to experiment with arranging and orchestrating. Ensconced at the Cotton Club in New York at the end of the previous decade, Duke Ellington catered to a lot of musical interests and needs - he played for the dancers, and for the jazz lovers. He relied on ideas from his musicians, and wrote for them as individuals rather than as anonymous section players. With all that work and a line-up of marvelous, distinctive musical voices, Ellington began the most creative period of his life.
"Sophisticated Lady." "Stormy Weather." "Solitude." "In a Sentimental Mood." "Echoes of Harlem." "Caravan." All of them and many more are a part of "The Complete 1932-1940 Brunswick, Columbia, and Master Recordings of Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra," an unprecedented limited edition box set that compiles these recordings for the first, and quite possibly the last time on 11 CDs. There would be many more exceptional compositions in the years following, including his highly regarded suites and longer works, but the scope of our latest, lavish Mosaic limited edition box set collection is the period when Ellington would establish himself as the most important composer ever in jazz.
Musicians Created Their Own Voices, and Interpreted His
"Jazz, if it means anything, means freedom of expression," he told writer Stanley Dance. And express himself is what he did, through the instruments of stalwarts and newcomers to the orchestra who not only created personality for Ellington's band - they were, in many instances, standard bearers in their own right for their respective instruments.
Barney Bigard on clarinet and tenor saxophone established links to the past with his New Orleans-style runs, executed with exceptional warmth. Harry Carney was the only important soloist on baritone saxophone for years, and the big bottom his instrument provided brought real gravity to the Duke Ellington sound. The great trumpeter Cootie Williams joined to replace the fallen Bubber Miley, quickly perfecting Miley's growl and mute techniques while creating his own sound with the open horn. He was a master of establishing mood and emotion. Lawrence Brown had a ringing tone on trombone, which complemented Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton's earthy growl and Juan Tizol's fat sound. Trumpeter Arthur Whetsel, saxophonist Otto Hardwick, and the inimitable Sonny Greer on drums were all associates from the earliest days in Washington. Ben Webster began perfecting his tenor saxophone style during a brief mid-'30s stint with the band before being offered a permanent position in 1940. Late in the decade, Duke Ellington discovered Jimmy Blanton, who would revolutionize bass playing with his terrific sense of swing and dead-on intonation before illness led to a tragically early death. And what can be said about Johnny Hodges, the silky smooth alto saxophonist who influenced generations of musicians? He was, in a line-up of superstars, a cut above all.
Duke Ellington made use of them all, for their personal styles as well as for his own unique voicings that placed trombones at the apex of their range and clarinets at the bottom, or by putting unusual notes in the baritone instead of giving the instrument the chord's dominant tone. His compositions, the unique personal style of his players, his innovative arrangements, and his confidence in his soloists to raise any composition to a new level, combined to provide him with a palette unequaled in music.
The Complete Box Set Collection
Our limited edition box set comprises a massive 11 CDs featuring well over 100 Ellington compositions. In addition to the above-named musicians, guest stars Bing Crosby, Ethel Waters and the Mills Brothers make notable appearances. Ellington's female vocalist Ivie Anderson proves she was tailor-made for the band along with other superb band-mates Freddie Jenkins and Wallace Jones on trumpet, Fred Guy on banjo and guitar, Wellman Braud, Billy Taylor and Hayes Alvis on bass, and the unique cornetist Rex Stewart.
The exclusive Mosaic booklet includes a complete discography of the dates, a revealing essay and track by track analysis by Steven Lasker, and a number of rarely seen photographs. We urge you to order these CDs early - like all Mosaic box sets, this edition is strictly limited, and given the importance of the music it contains, we're expecting significant interest.
Read More About DukeEllington:
Track Listing, Personnel & Recording Dates »
- Audio Quality
- Sample Session Notes
The source material for our latest Ellington set mainly comes from Steven Lasker who also transferred most of the material in this set and also did the restoration work which we feel is both clear and crisp. His collection of Ellingtonia is one of the most envied in the world. For this set of Columbia, Brunswick and Master recordings, Steven had every commercially issued side in mint or near mint shape, including rare test pressings of not only some of the issued sides but alternate takes, some previously unissued until now. If there was a side he needed in better shape to transfer we were able to take advantage of the metal mothers from the Sony Archives.
Photo Copyright © Protected
have collated, mostly from the Steven Lasker collection, a wide variety of rare session photos, cameos and publicity stills that enhances the listening experience of this monumental set. Some are previously unpublished and the rest are rarely seen images.
(Q) May 16, 1933
Brunswick 6600, which coupled Sophisticated Lady and Stormy Weather, was a huge hit and very possibly Brunswick's best-selling record by Ellington. Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's Stormy Weather wasn't just the biggest song from the Twenty-Second Cotton Club Parade--it was probably the number one hit song of 1933. Edward Jablonski, in his biography Harold Arlen: Happy with the Blues, relates the story of how the song came to be written: "Early in the year Arlen and Koehler had all but tossed off a song at a party. Arlen had been thinking of Cab Calloway when he wrote it, had even opened it with what he calls 'a front shout.' Going from this three-note phrase, Arlen worked up the song, played it a few times. In about half an hour both he and Koehler had completed their respective ends of the collaboration. Relieved to have one more out of the way, they left to get a sandwich. Thus, simply and without fanfare, was created Stormy Weather. As it turned out, Calloway was not to appear in that edition of the Parade. Duke Ellington had been signed instead. As the song turned out, lyrically it was not tailored for a male singer anyway. Ethel Waters, the song writers believed, would be the perfect interpreter of the song. Brunswick released four versions of the song; Ellington made the only instrumental version. Ethel Waters also recorded the song for the label, backed by the Dorsey Brother's orchestra.
Sophisticated Lady: Ellington (intro); Brown; Bigard; Ellington; Hardwick.
Stormy Weather: Ellington (break); Whetsel; Williams; Brown; Carney; Bigard.
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"With superb remastering and a fine book, this is one of the finest Mosaic's in a while and deserves to sell out fast. Get it while you can!"
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