Jazz CD Reviews
Duke Ellington – Live at Carnegie Hall, January 1946 – Pristine Audio
Published on June 26, 2008
This is a quite amazing sonic milestone. There have been many reissues of an earlier appearance at Carnegie Hall by the Ellington Orchestra, in 1943, reissued variously by the Storyville, Everest, Madecy and Ember labels. But this one has less versions of various Ellington big hits and far better sonics after the careful restoration process by Andrew Rose of Pristine to the acetate discs originally recorded back in 1943. He found considerable variations in quality between the various discs and had to re-equalize them and remove swishing sounds from many, but he also found better extension at both the treble and bass end than many recordings of the same period. These CDs put us right in Carnegie Hall for a terrific, nearly 100-minute concert by the great Ellington band.
The band was at its peak during this period, and had such people as Cat Anderson, Wilbur de Paris, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, and Oscar Pettiford. Caravan, In a Mello Tone and Take the A Train are the only big hits here, and all done to a turn. The rest of the program brings us some offbeat Ellington of the period, such as Rugged Romeo and Magenta Haze. The Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue is done as two separate numbers. Can’t believe the great fidelity of these tracks – Ellington fans will go nuts!
TrackList: Caravan, in a Mellow Tone, Solid Old Man, Come Sunday, The Blues, Rugged Romeo, Sono, Air-Conditioned Jungle, Pither Panther Patter, Take the A Train, Meloditti, Fugueaditty, Jam-A-Ditty, Magenta Haze, Diminuendo in Blue/Transbluency, Crescendo in Blue, Suburbanite, I’m Just a Lucky So and So, Riffin’ Drill.
– John Henry