DUKE ELLINGTON — The Nutcracker Suite

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DUKE ELLINGTON - The Nutcracker Suite cover
4.00 | 3 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1960

Tracklist

A1 Overture
A2 Toot Toot Tootie Toot (Dance of the Reed-Pipes)
A3 Peanut Brittle Brigade (March)
A4 Sugar Rum Cherry (Dance of the Sugar-Plum Fairy)
A5 Entr'acte
B1 The Volga Vouty (Russian Dance)
B2 Chinoiserie (Chinese Dance)
B3 Danse of the Floreadores (Waltz of the Flowers)
B4 Arabesque Cookie (Arabian Dance)

Line-up/Musicians

Bass – Aaron Bell
Composed By – Piotr Illitch Tchaïkovsky
Drums – Sam Woodyard
Piano – Duke Ellington
Saxophone – Harry Carney, Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Russell Procope
Trombone – "Booty" Wood , Britt Woodman, Juan Tizol, Lawrence Brown
Trumpet – Andres Meringuito, Eddie Mullins , Ray Nance (tracks: A1 to B1), Willie Cook (tracks: B2 to B6)

About this release

Columbia Special Products – CS 8341 (US)

Recorded on May 26,May 31,June 3,21 & 22, 1960

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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DUKE ELLINGTON THE NUTCRACKER SUITE reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
This is a fun one that you might have overlooked, Ellington and his 1950 band play well known classics by Tchaikovsky and Greig. Often jazz adoptions of classical tunes can be so corny and cute, but not so with this one, like any great Ellington record this one is witty, sophisticated and urbane. They play the tunes more or less straight ahead, but with slight twists in the phrasing so that these old melodies become jazz. The transformation is subtle and these tunes would probably suffer in the hands of a less talented orchestra. Some of the resultant fusions are fascinating; “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies” somehow becomes a slinky blues and “Hall of the Mountain King” becomes an old school swing rave up.

Some of Ellington’s all time best sidemen are on here and they have a lot of fun with the material. Jimmy Hamilton and Paul Gonsalves put on their best tongue-in-cheek stuffed shirts for note-for-note readings of the difficult “Chinese Song”, and then have fun fragmenting the melody and passing it around. This being one of Ellington’s more modern recordings, there are plenty of Latin and subtle African rhythms to add exotic spice to some tunes. On “Solveig’s Song”, the band stays close to the original arrangement except for a very quiet and slow African drone beat.

This is so much more interesting than your usual “classics gone jazz” sort of kitsch. Ellington and his band display infinite sophistication as well as just enough sly humor to make this one really work.

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