It never ceases to amaze serious students of Ellingtonia how some critics and historians, in their justifiable enthusiasm over the band’s glorious triumphs 40 to 70 years ago, could denigrate Duke’s latter day work, especially the many brilliant concert performances that have been coming to light with happy regularity in recent times. Previously unreleased, the contents of this particular recording originate in J.A.T.P. concerts staged at the Sportpalast in February 1965 and the Salle Pleyel in March 1967. Save for two exceptions on trumpet and drums, the personnel was the same for both events. Of primary importance, though, is the notable absence of the obligatory medleys of hits that, in all of their inescapable redundancy elsewhere, have strained the patience of even the most faithful of Duke’s devotees.
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