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1. Take The "A" Train - (instrumental intro instrumental)
2. Duke Ellington: Introduction
6. Opener, The
8. Take The "A" Train - (vocal version)
9. Mood Indigo
10. C Jam Blues
11. Don't Get Around Much Anymore
12. Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue
13. Single Petal Of A Rose
14. Kinda Dukish / Rockin' In Rhythm
Also available as part of the 6-CD set THE DUKE ELLINGTON CENTENARY COLLECTION: THE TRAVELOG EDITION on Musicmasters (65180).
Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Ernie Shepard (vocals, bass); Milt Grayson (vocals); Cat Anderson, Roy Burrowes, Cootie Williams, Rolf Ericson, Herbie Jones (trumpet); Ray Nance (cornet, violin); Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors (trombone); Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Jimmy Hamilton, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney (reeds); Sam Woodyard (drums).
Recorded live in London, England on January 22, 1963 and February 20, 1964. Includes liner notes by Stanley Dance.
THE GREAT LONDON CONCERTS is a collection of previously unreleased live recordings taken from the Ellington family's private collection and the archives of the Library Of Congress.
THE GREAT LONDON CONCERTS consists of tracks from two performances in 1963 and 1964, and it's interesting to imagine music this incredibly suave and sophisticated existing in the same time and place as the early Beatles. Excellent performances abound here, including several surprises (notably, bassist Ernie Shepard's vocal performance on the band's theme song "Take the A-Train" and a truly spooky arrangement of "Caravan" by trumpeter Cootie Williams, who, along with saxophonist Johnny Hodges, plays beautifully throughout).
Though Ellington is admired primarily for his compositional skills and not his instrumental prowess, the album's highlight is a solo Ellington piano piece. Written in 1958 as part of a suite honoring Queen Elizabeth, "Single Petal of A Rose" is absolutely gorgeous, performed with an exquisite sense of melancholy. Although some critics argue that Ellington's talents were on the wane by this period, THE GREAT LONDON CONCERTS would seem to discredit that claim. What the band may lack in youthful fire compared to Ellington's older recordings is more than compensated for with a deep sensitivity and grace.
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