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Duke Ellington: Black, Brown & Beige featuring Mahalia Jackson

The justly celebrated Black, Brown & Beige, although in dramatically reduced form from its original 44-minute score, as performed at Carnegie Hall in January 1943 (see Prestige 2PCD-34004), is here offered in a February 1958 recording that utilizes only the first of the three movements, albeit in different permutations. In addition to the music heard on the original Columbia LP, we now have 10 more tracks, inclusive of alternate takes of Parts I-VI, two pieces not intended for inclusion in BB&B, “Track 360” (or “Trains”) and “Blues in Orbit” (or “Tender”), both of which are alternates, and a previously unissued a cappella version of Mahalia Jackson singing the “Come Sunday” theme. It is especially instructive to note how Duke reassigned solo parts in order to compensate for Johnny Hodges’ absence from the band during this period.

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