Piano in the Background

COMPOSERS: Duke Ellington
LABELS: Columbia Legacy
PERFORMER: Duke Ellington
CATALOGUE NO: 512919 2

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The title Piano in the Background is pushing it a little, as while this is a big-band disc there’s no shortage of ebullient piano introductions, although a few of them see the piano stool relinquished to Billy Strayhorn.

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Between them the original and bonus tracks offer a fairly eclectic selection of tunes, including ‘Perdido’ and Shearing’s ‘Lullaby of Birdland’, although the whole album is worth buying just for the hyperactive version of ‘Take the “A” Train’ (it opens with a quote from ‘There Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens’!) which may just be my favourite Ellington recording of all time.