Duke Ellington (arrangements)

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COMPOSERS: Duke Ellington (arrangements)
LABELS: SteepleChase
ALBUM TITLE: Jed Levy: Mood Ellington
WORKS: Jed Levy: Mood Ellington
PERFORMER: Jed Levy (sax, flute), Jack Walrath (trumpet), Bill Mays (piano), Martin Wind (bass), Jeff Brillinger (drums)
A connoisseur’s repertory record. A stalwart of the New York scene, Levy has chosen 11 Duke Ellington themes and cast them in small-group arrangements which elaborate on both the lyrical beauty and the merriment in the master’s writing. He’s also chosen rarities from Ellington’s vast book: ‘The


Neo-Hip-Hot Cool-Kiddies Community’ and ‘Action In Alexandria’. Only ‘Mood Indigo’ could be cited as a warhorse, and even here he reworks one of the composer’s own variations on the theme rather than the basic melody. This music’s ready appeal is enhanced by a brilliant quintet: Levy offers one of the richest tenor sounds in contemporary jazz, Walrath adds a quirky sensibility, and the superlative Bill Mays adds ingenuities to the Ellington role. Richard Cook