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Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival 1969 - 1973

Duke Ellington

Live at the Berlin Jazz Festival 1969 - 1973

Price: € 19.95
Format: CD
Label: The Lost Recordings
UPC: 0196587027520
Catnr: TLR 2204041
Release date: 20 May 2022
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Label
The Lost Recordings
UPC
0196587027520
Catalogue number
TLR 2204041
Release date
20 May 2022

"... Ellington's bands always had a certain sound, swinging and growing, radiating elegance and passion. This recording captures much of that - and at the same time makes you want to hear more from the king of Harlem's Cotton Club once again .... ."

kultkomplott, 08-7-2022
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Artist(s)
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About the album

Since its inception in 1964, the Berlin Jazz Fest had been thought of as a festival that, if not avant-garde, welcomed the most progressive and experimental forms of music of a period rich in all types of modernistic trends, from radical free jazz to a multitude of fusions of pop, rock, soul and jazz. But in 1969, as if swimming against the tide of the revolutions that swept the West, the organizers took an audacious stand: it was Duke Ellington’s 70th birthday and not only did they welcome him at the head of his big band for the first time, but part of the programme focused on his heritage; as a bonus and birthday gift, Ellington was featured on the publicity poster of the festival’s sixth edition. This may all seem quite normal where one of the greatest jazz geniuses in history is concerned. Today, that bold choice would no longer be questioned. But the situation looked very different then. The late 1960s was a period of political and aesthetic upheaval: new trends, values and issues of identity emerged and were sometimes even affirmed with vehemence. Given the context, one might legitimately wonder who actually listened to Ellington then.

Since the mid-1920, Ellington was widely acclaimed by jazz musicians of all generations who respected his multi-faceted heritage and were fascinated by his ability to renew his idiom. The general public worldwide, too, recognised that his well-balanced orchestral art elevated classical swing to the very pinnacle of formal perfection. Ellington was an icon; his talent and historical importance were indisputable. His recent compositions, however, were only met with polite interest, lost within the profusion of trends that pulsed with other rhythms and sounds reflecting contemporary societal developments.

Albeit a recently-established festival, the Berlin Jazz Fest was considered a major event, recognised for its discerning choices in avant-garde jazz. The decision to give Ellington pride of place as the festival’s headliner could not fail to make an impression. It was an implicit invitation to the public to reconsider his music as a certain form of continuity between tradition and modernity (or types of modernity), as well as symbolizing the conflict between the two. And indeed, the selection on this album from the Berlin concert of 8 November 1969 is magnificent testimony to the extraordinary freshness of tone that Ellington’s big band still displayed on stage, when the sheer pleasure of playing took over from the routine of performance.

Ellington appeared at the head of a sizeable orchestra whose configuration and instrumentation could not have been more traditional. There was a brilliant section of five trumpet players to highlight the virtuosity of two orchestra veterans, Cootie Williams and Cat Anderson (just listen to “El Gato”). Most importantly, there was an exceptional group of clarinettists and saxophonists, comprising Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves and Harry Carney, each one a veteran of the Ellington legend whose unmistakable voices are forever associated with the hallmark sound of the big band. The Duke, true alchemist that he was, achieved the tour de force of making this massive orchestra sound out with the fluidity and drive of a small band.
Seit seiner Gründung im Jahr 1964 galt das Berliner Jazzfest als ein Festival, das, wenn schon nicht avantgardistisch, so doch die fortschrittlichsten und experimentellsten Musikformen einer an modernistischen Strömungen aller Art reichen Zeit aufnahm, vom radikalen Free Jazz bis zu einer Vielzahl von Fusionen aus Pop, Rock, Soul und Jazz. Aber 1969, als ob sie gegen den Strom der Revolutionen, die den Westen überrollten, anschwimmen wollten, wagten die Organisatoren einen kühnen Schritt: Es war der 70. Geburtstag von Duke Ellington, und sie empfingen ihn nicht nur zum ersten Mal an der Spitze seiner Big Band, sondern ein Teil des Programms konzentrierte sich auf sein Erbe; als Bonus und Geburtstagsgeschenk war Ellington auf dem Werbeplakat der sechsten Ausgabe des Festivals abgebildet. Das alles mag ganz normal erscheinen, wenn es um eines der größten Jazzgenies der Geschichte geht. Heute würde man diese mutige Entscheidung nicht mehr in Frage stellen. Aber damals sah die Situation ganz anders aus. Die späten 1960er Jahre waren eine Zeit des politischen und ästhetischen Umbruchs: Neue Trends, Werte und Identitätsfragen tauchten auf und wurden manchmal sogar vehement bekräftigt. Vor diesem Hintergrund kann man sich zu Recht fragen, wer damals eigentlich Ellington hörte.

Seit Mitte der 1920er Jahre wurde Ellington von Jazzmusikern aller Generationen gefeiert, die sein vielschichtiges Erbe respektierten und von seiner Fähigkeit, sein Idiom zu erneuern, fasziniert waren. Auch die Weltöffentlichkeit erkannte, dass seine ausgewogene Orchesterkunst den klassischen Swing auf den Gipfel der formalen Perfektion hob. Ellington war eine Ikone; sein Talent und seine historische Bedeutung waren unbestreitbar. Seine neueren Kompositionen stießen jedoch nur auf höfliches Interesse und gingen in der Fülle der Trends unter, die mit anderen Rhythmen und Klängen pulsierten, die die zeitgenössischen gesellschaftlichen Entwicklungen widerspiegelten.

Obwohl das Berliner Jazzfest erst vor kurzem ins Leben gerufen wurde, galt es als ein bedeutendes Ereignis, das für seine anspruchsvolle Auswahl an Avantgarde-Jazz bekannt war. Die Entscheidung, Ellington den Vorrang als Headliner des Festivals zu geben, konnte nicht unbeeindruckt bleiben. Es war eine implizite Aufforderung an das Publikum, seine Musik als eine bestimmte Form der Kontinuität zwischen Tradition und Moderne (oder Arten von Moderne) zu betrachten, aber auch als Symbol für den Konflikt zwischen beiden. Und in der Tat ist die Auswahl auf diesem Album aus dem Berliner Konzert vom 8. November 1969 ein großartiges Zeugnis für die außergewöhnliche Frische des Tons, die Ellingtons Big Band auf der Bühne noch an den Tag legte, als die reine Spielfreude die Routine der Aufführung ablöste.

Ellington stand an der Spitze eines beachtlichen Orchesters, dessen Zusammensetzung und Instrumentierung nicht traditioneller hätte sein können. Es gab eine brillante Gruppe von fünf Trompetern, die die Virtuosität von zwei Orchesterveteranen, Cootie Williams und Cat Anderson, hervorhob (man höre nur "El Gato"). Vor allem aber gab es eine außergewöhnliche Gruppe von Klarinettisten und Saxophonisten, bestehend aus Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves und Harry Carney, allesamt Veteranen der Ellington-Legende, deren unverwechselbare Stimmen für immer mit dem unverwechselbaren Sound der Big Band verbunden sind. Der Duke, der ein wahrer Alchemist war, schaffte es, dieses riesige Orchester mit der Geschmeidigkeit und dem Schwung einer kleinen Band erklingen zu lassen.

Artist(s)

Duke Ellington (piano)

Duke Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. In his fifty year career, he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia. Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live onand will endure for generations to come. Winton Marsalis said it best when he said 'His music sounds like America.' Because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase “beyond category” more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. He was...
more

Duke Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. In his fifty year career, he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia.

Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live onand will endure for generations to come. Winton Marsalis said it best when he said "His music sounds like America." Because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase “beyond category” more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. He was most certainly one of a kind that maintained a llifestyle with universal appeal which transcended countless boundaries.

Duke Ellington is best remembered for the over 3000 songs that he composed during his lifetime. His best known titles include; "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing", "Sophisticated Lady", "Mood Indigo", “Solitude", "In a Mellotone",and "Satin Doll". The most amazing part about Ellington was the most creative while he was on the road. It was during this time when he wrote his most famous piece, "Mood Indigo"which brought him world wide fame.

When asked what inspired him to write, Ellington replied, "My men and my race are the inspiration of my work. I try to catch the character and mood and feeling of my people".

Duke Ellington's popular compositions set the bar for generations of brilliant jazz, pop, theatre and soundtrack composers to come. While these compositions guarantee his greatness, whatmakes Duke an iconoclastic genius, and an unparalleled visionary, what has granted him immortality are his extended suites. From 1943's Black, Brown and Beige to 1972's The Uwis Suite, Duke used the suite format to give his jazz songs a far more empowering meaning, resonance and purpose: to exalt, mythologize and re-contextualize the African-American experience on a grand scale.

Duke Ellington was partial to giving brief verbal accounts of the moods his songs captured. Reading those accounts is like looking deep into the background of an old photo of New York and noticing the lost and almost unaccountable details that gave the city its character during Ellington's heyday, which began in 1927 when his band made the Cotton Club its home.''The memory of things gone,'' Ellington once said, ''is important to a jazz musician,'' and the stories he sometimes told about his songs are the record of those things gone. But what is gone returns, its pulse kicking, when Ellington's music plays, and never mind what past it is, for the music itself still carries us forward today.

Duke Ellington was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966. He was later awarded several other prizes, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, and the Legion of Honor by France in 1973, the highest civilian honors in each country. He died of lung cancer and pneumonia on May 24, 1974, a month after his 75th birthday, and is buried in theBronx, in New York City. At his funeral attendedby over 12,000 people at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Ella Fitzgerald summed up the occasion, "It's a very sad day...A genius has passed."


less

Composer(s)

Duke Ellington (piano)

Duke Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. In his fifty year career, he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia. Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live onand will endure for generations to come. Winton Marsalis said it best when he said 'His music sounds like America.' Because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase “beyond category” more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. He was...
more

Duke Ellington influenced millions of people both around the world and at home. He gave American music its own sound for the first time. In his fifty year career, he played over 20,000 performances in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East as well as Asia.

Simply put, Ellington transcends boundaries and fills the world with a treasure trove of music that renews itself through every generation of fans and music-lovers. His legacy continues to live onand will endure for generations to come. Winton Marsalis said it best when he said "His music sounds like America." Because of the unmatched artistic heights to which he soared, no one deserved the phrase “beyond category” more than Ellington, for it aptly describes his life as well. He was most certainly one of a kind that maintained a llifestyle with universal appeal which transcended countless boundaries.

Duke Ellington is best remembered for the over 3000 songs that he composed during his lifetime. His best known titles include; "It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing", "Sophisticated Lady", "Mood Indigo", “Solitude", "In a Mellotone",and "Satin Doll". The most amazing part about Ellington was the most creative while he was on the road. It was during this time when he wrote his most famous piece, "Mood Indigo"which brought him world wide fame.

When asked what inspired him to write, Ellington replied, "My men and my race are the inspiration of my work. I try to catch the character and mood and feeling of my people".

Duke Ellington's popular compositions set the bar for generations of brilliant jazz, pop, theatre and soundtrack composers to come. While these compositions guarantee his greatness, whatmakes Duke an iconoclastic genius, and an unparalleled visionary, what has granted him immortality are his extended suites. From 1943's Black, Brown and Beige to 1972's The Uwis Suite, Duke used the suite format to give his jazz songs a far more empowering meaning, resonance and purpose: to exalt, mythologize and re-contextualize the African-American experience on a grand scale.

Duke Ellington was partial to giving brief verbal accounts of the moods his songs captured. Reading those accounts is like looking deep into the background of an old photo of New York and noticing the lost and almost unaccountable details that gave the city its character during Ellington's heyday, which began in 1927 when his band made the Cotton Club its home.''The memory of things gone,'' Ellington once said, ''is important to a jazz musician,'' and the stories he sometimes told about his songs are the record of those things gone. But what is gone returns, its pulse kicking, when Ellington's music plays, and never mind what past it is, for the music itself still carries us forward today.

Duke Ellington was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966. He was later awarded several other prizes, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969, and the Legion of Honor by France in 1973, the highest civilian honors in each country. He died of lung cancer and pneumonia on May 24, 1974, a month after his 75th birthday, and is buried in theBronx, in New York City. At his funeral attendedby over 12,000 people at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Ella Fitzgerald summed up the occasion, "It's a very sad day...A genius has passed."


less

Press

... Ellington's bands always had a certain sound, swinging and growing, radiating elegance and passion. This recording captures much of that - and at the same time makes you want to hear more from the king of Harlem's Cotton Club once again .... .
kultkomplott, 08-7-2022

It's amazing what treasures still lie dormant in the sound archives...
Inmusic, 01-12-2022

The mono recording is of impeccable quality, a hallmark of this label that has become essential in the perfect reissue of past concerts. The two concerts highlight, if necessary, the establishment and relaxation of one of the absolute masters of 20th century music.
Jazzhalo, 30-6-2022

The CD ends with the beautiful “meditation” a solo by Duke which shows that he really went with the times, this can compete with work by Cecil Taylor and Thelonius Monk with traces of Claude Debussy, great and that applies to the entire album!
Rootstime, 16-6-2022

... This is a record you can listen to over and over again. A real rarity for every jazz fan without exception!
jazzfun, 21-5-2022

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