The two CDs of The Orchestra.
The debut CD of the orchestra was recorded in one day at Abbey Road Studios in London. On 5 September 1994, eighteen musicians assembled in the room made famous by The Beatles to lay down the sixteen tracks that make up the CD. The vocalist for the session was Claire Flynn, who later left the group and emigrated, but the line-up features many of the musicians that stayed with Echoes throughout its career.
Familiar names include the trumpets of Mike Lovatt, Gavin Mallet and Bruce Adams, the trombones if Bob Hunt and Mike Innes, and the guitar of Pete Walton. The saxophones were all Echoes stalwarts: Peter Ripper and Colin Skinner on altos, Iain Dixon, Ray Gelato and Pete Long on tenors, and Jay Craig on baritone. Don Innes was at the pianoforte, with Dave Olney on bass and Mike Smith on drums.
The selections represent some of the Duke's best known numbers, together with some less familiar tracks. Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life is included, which Pete Long explains in the highly informative booklet was never recorded in big band form by Ellington. The tour de force is the final track, Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue, which lasted until the next CD came out two years later.
These recordings represent the first recording venture of Echoes of Ellington. The results are both extremely listenable and highly danceable. Clearly there can only be a limited amount of stock left; grab one while you can.
|Track 1||Main Stem|
|Track 2||Don't Get Around Much Anymore|
|Track 4||Prelude To A Kiss|
|Track 5||Harlem Air Shaft|
|Track 6||East St Louis Toodle-oo|
|Track 7||It Don't Mean A Thing|
|Track 8||Take The 'A' Train|
|Track 9||Lush Life|
|Track 10||Jam With Sam|
|Track 11||The Mooche|
|Track 12||Primpin' At The Prom|
|Track 13||Satin Doll|
|Track 14||Junior Hop|
|Track 15||Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue|
The second CD of Echoes of Ellington was a live recording of their concerts at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London from April 22 to April 27 1996. The result was not released until the following year.
The sound here is what we came to expect and love from Echoes of Ellington. Opening with the highly danceable arrangement of Take The A Train, the smooth-as-silk vocals of Patti Revell caress your ears and take them on a tour of the lyric and some scat, supported by the resot of the orchestra on backing shouting.
The CD does contain some of the tracks on Main Stem, but with different arrangements. This time around you can enjoy a fine Ray Gelato vocal on It Don't Mean A Thing. There's also a return for Diminuendo and Crescendo In Blue. But, as Pete Long explains in the once-again highly-informative booklet, he couldn't leave out the tremendous sax solo of Iain Dixon, not least because it was delivered in the small hours of the morning.
For the rest, you can enjoy the sultry blues of Concerto For Cootie and I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues. You can really swing out to Kinda Dukish/Rockin' In Rhythm and C Jam Blues, the best use anyone has ever made of a two-note motif. Add to that the likes of Mood Indigo, Smada, I'm Beginning To See The Light and Jubilee Stomp, and there's more than enough new material to keep anyone happy. There's also a rare non-Ellington tune: Irving Berlin's Blue Skies.
In the May 1997 edition of Swing Time, I wrote:
"Rush out and buy a copy of Echoes of Ellington's "Rockin' In Ronnies" CD. It's worth it for the liner notes alone. The music really swings and Mrs. Revell's vocal on "Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues" is enough to make any red-blooded male get down on all fours in front of the speakers and bark like a mad dog. Or is it just me?"
It's as true now as it was then.
|Rockin' In Ronnies|
|Track 1||Take The 'A' Train|
|Track 2||Concerto For Cootie|
|Track 3||Main Stem|
|Track 4||I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues|
|Track 5||Kinda Dukish/Rockin' In Rhythm|
|Track 6||It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)|
|Track 7||C Jam Blues|
|Track 8||Mood Indigo|
|Track 10||I'm Beginning To See The Light|
|Track 11||Jubilee Stomp|
|Track 12||Blue Skies|
|Track 13||Diminuendo & Crescendo In Blue|
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