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Duke Ellington: Live In Zurich

Despite how many of their CDs are available, one can never have too many Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington albums. The Austrian TCB label has dug up two previously unreleased live sets that were performed in Zurich. Armstrong’s Live in Switzerland is from Oct. 18, 1949, and is most notable for the assertive playing of pianist Earl Hines with Satch’s All Stars, which also include Jack Teagarden and Barney Bigard. Ellington’s Live In Zurich dates from Sept. 2-5, 1950, and is a bit unusual in that it has Don Byas on tenor (featured on “How High the Moon”) just a short time before Paul Gonsalves took over the tenor chair. The 1950 Ellington Orchestra made few recordings, so it is a pleasure to hear a full-length set from the ensemble with Billy Strayhorn guesting on piano during his “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

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