This 1956 reissue of Duke Ellington’s 1951 classic, Masterpieces, was one of the first records to take full advantage of the (then) new long play (LP) format. Previously restricted to about three and a half minutes on 78rpm records, Mr. Ellington and his partners in crime liberated listeners with Mood Indigo, the 15-minute opener of jaw-dropping proportions. Though I much prefer the cover art to this reissue, the 1951 original is something of recorded music history, and therefore one I shall hunt down. But seriously, this album is amazing in any format, and as with any Ellington release, comes highly recommended by the feeble minds here at The Prudent Groove.
Tag Archives: Duke Ellington
Casual Cabin Listens
… and His Famous Orchestra
14 Sides of Commercial Jazz
This 7-disc classic Jazz comp by The Smithsonian Collection is a beast to tackle. Heavy on the Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, these 14 sides offer a grand overview of the weighty sphere known as Jazz, but with the scope of a bullet-pointed-casual-observer only seeking out the top 40 hits.
As I understand it, and I’m sure I’m wholeheartedly incorrect, Jazz is an organic entity that exists only as a deviation from the norm, until it became it. Like the Blues, Jazz is my most distant musical relative, but that doesn’t make The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz that much less enjoyable.
Great Hits of the Great Bands
File this mistake under, “adolescent oversight.” This is as much an edition for collectors as the New Edition is a rival for most influential band of the 80s. You see, in 1997, big band music was big; at least it was where I grew up. It was a nostalgic glimpse into a well thought-out hoax, perfect to rival the Macarena and Aqua’s Barbie Girl. Commercial radio was sick-to-your-stomach-painful in the late 90s, and my overexcitement for something… ANYTHING different proved to be the better of me.
I had, in my faded understanding, neglected to grasp the fact that Great Hits of the Great Bands wasn’t a proper, cohesive release. I’d recently contemplated offering it up to the corner thrift if it weren’t for the sentimental value it (lethargically) held, but instead, I’ll keep it show the very simple, yet painful fact that very, very little has changed in the past 17 years.
My Favorite Hits – Mickey Mantle Circa: 1958
The year, 1958… the legend, The Mick, aka Mickey Charles Mantle. RCA Victor compiled a list of jazz-pop, country, easy listening, and ballad-type hits which were “allegedly” personal favorites of The Commerce Comet on this listenable baseball card, My Favorite Hits – Mickey Mantle.
Whether these tracks by Glenn Miller, Hugo Winterhalter, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, and The Sons of the Pioneers were actually Mantle favorites is a topic of endless debate, but My Favorite Hits is a great, OLD, sports collectable with an amazing cover and a great soundtrack to a warm, summer, Tuesday evening.
God love the low, low prices at Discogs.com.
Quality Records for Family Enjoyment
ABC-Paramount Records: Full color fidelity on a two-tone sleeve. Established in 1955 under the variation, Am-Par Record Corporation (the music collateral of American Broadcasting Company, which was then titled American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters… the more you know), ABC-Paramount Records was home to some of the most prominent voices (I almost went with paramount) the late 50s and early 60s had to offer. With Fats Domino and Ray Charles leading the pack, other lesser-known artists (just because they’re less known doesn’t make them less than) like Mario Escudero, Sabicas, the Les Djinns Singers and Roy Smeck were given a platform with which to proclaim their love for the gift of music.
1961 saw the label branching out (far out, man) into the audacious world of Jazz with their subsidiary label, Impulse (featured in the photo above). Home to the likes of Charles Mingus, Max Roach, Duke Ellington, the Milt Jackson Quartet and John Coltrane, Impulse was managed by none other than CTI Records himself, Creed Taylor.
The label was eventually sold to MCA Records in 1979, and the relatively short-lived ABC-Paramount Records was discontinued shortly thereafter. As an aside, MCA Records was absorbed and rebranded as Universal Music Group in 1995, and has become the nation’s largest music corporation. The rest, as they say, is big fish eating little fish history (fishtory?).
To Play and Play Again!
Quick question… Q: What do The Kinks, Dean Martin, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Sinatra all have in common? A: Quite a bit actually; you’re going to need to be a bit more specific.
Fine, I’ll tell you. They were all monumentally talented artists on the Reprise Records label. As a longtime collector of the Kinks, I’m a bit surprised to find Duke Ellington and Dean Martin to be their egg-borrowing neighbors. Apparently Reprise was started by Frank Sinatra in 1960, and then sold to Warner Bros. Records in 1963… and a year later the label would land the rights to Pye Records (UK label of the Kinks), and the well-rounded and eclectic Reprise Records family was born.
This is an insert from Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night album. Not being a huge fan of the womanizing crooner, I decided to avert my attention to the brothers Davies. Have a good Saturday!
From the Makers of Gold Bond Ceiling Tile…
Nothing, and I mean NOTHING says Count Basie & Duke Ellington quite like Gold Bond Ceiling Tile. Back in 196? Columbia Special Products, a sister company of Columbia Records, teamed up with Gold Bond to promote their brand of ceiling tiles which, when installed in your “listening room,” were supposed to improve acoustics and offer an overall better listening experience. You know Gold Bond for their powders and creams that help treat diaper rash, jock itch and other moisture causing embarrassments, but what you may not know is that Gold Bond used to manufacture Silentex, “a beautifully brush textured tile with a wheat and white color… and it has no unsightly holes.” I HATE those unsightly holes! They’re just so, unsightly!
Got the urge for some do-it-yourself construction work? Unsatisfied with your current hi-fi and the quality of music it produces? Sick of that beautiful Patti Page track, Moon River sounding cockeyed and unpleasant? Then it may be time to consider installing Gold Bond Silentex. Because, as you know, with your current ceiling, “echoes bounce from surface to surface, and they can make utter hash out of what started out as good music.”
Oh, and the woman on the cover has figured out inception, so, there you go.