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Don Sebesky: A Joyful Noise: A Tribute to Duke Ellington

Using a cast of 23 top jazz soloists and sectionmen, versatile arranger Don Sebesky has put together yet one more paean to the compositions, if not the style, of Duke Ellington. The primary soloists are altoman/clarinetist Phil Woods, trumpeter/flugelhornist Tom Harrell, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, pianist Jim McNeely, guitarist/vocalist John Pizzarelli, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Dennis Mackrel. As a writer, Sebesky seems more interested in using well-known Ellingtonian songs, such as “Mood Indigo,” “Creole Love Call,” “Chelsea Bridge,” “Caravan,” “Warm Valley,” “Satin Doll” and “Ko-Ko,” than in presenting other, often equally worthy numbers that in many cases have not been heard since their initial recording. Of course, one way around the charge of over familiarity is to alter Duke’s harmonies and voicings to the point that this small book of “oldies, but goodies” becomes something quite other than a humble tribute. In addition to his reframing of standard material, Sebesky also offers his own “Joyful Noise Suite,” which is divided into three sections, “Gladly,” “Sadly,” and “Madly,” whose titles are so well chosen as to obviate the need for verbal description.

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