Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Bluebird Releases Rare Ellington in June

A three-disc set of Duke Ellington performances will arrive in stores June 11 via Bluebird’s First Edition Series. Don’t groan. The tracks on the discs are rare, worthy of making space on the CD-rack for. The set collects live tracks from the Duke’s late (and often neglected) period when he was writing a lot of suites dedicated to foreign nations (“Togo Brava Suite,” “Far East Suite,” “Latin American Suite,” etc.). It’s true that some of this material was issued in 1999 within RCA’s limited edition 24-CD Duke Ellington Centennial Edition set, but not everyone had the scratch to buy that monstrous set and in fact, a lot of this music has never seen a U.S. release save for bootlegs-and bootlegs are illegal. Included are bits of interviews with Ellington, rehearsal takes and the sessions he did for Reader’s Digest.

Disc by disc synopses:

Disc one:

Tracks 1-12: Eastbourne Performance, 1973. (First American CD release outside the Duke Ellington Centennial Edition)

Tracks 13-15: Pittsburgh Jazz Piano Workshop, 1965 (First American CD release outside the Duke Ellington Centennial Edition)

Tracks 16-18: Newport Jazz Festival Promo Party, RCA Studio A, 1968. (previously unreleased)

Disc two:

Tracks 1-20: The Duke at Tanglewood, 1965, interspersed with Duke Ellington interview segments describing the music. (First CD release of the original album outside the Duke Ellington Centennial Edition. The interview tracks are the first release outside of a promotional record made for radio promotion.)

Tracks 21-28: Tanglewood rehearsal takes (previously unreleased)

Disc three:

Tracks 1-11: Reader’s Digest tracks, 1969. (Previously only available on limited edition LP box sets from Reader’s Digest.)

Tracks 12-26: Reader’s Digest additional tracks and outtakes, 1969. (previously unreleased)

Originally Published