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Album Review

Rather than try to recreate Duke Ellington's famous "Black, Brown & Beige," Louie Bellson's big band does a reinterpretation of the 50-minute work on this CD that takes a lot of liberties with the composition. A little more space is allocated to solos, Johnny Hodges's famous "Come Sunday" melody statement is given to Clark Terry, Joe Williams sings "The Blues" and such players as trumpeter Barrie Lee Hall, Art Baron on plunger trombone, pianist Harold Danko and baritonist Joe Temperley are heard from. This version does give some new life to the classic suite. In addition, Bellson's band plays five of the drummer's originals including the boppish "Hawk Talks" and "Skin Deep." The shorter orchestral pieces fit into the general mood of the respectful but fairly creative tribute.


Born: 12 December 1918 in Cordele, GA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Joe Williams was the last great big-band singer, a smooth baritone who graced the rejuvenated Count Basie Orchestra during the 1950s and captivated audiences well into the '90s. Born in Georgia, he moved to Chicago with his grandmother at the age of three. Reunited with his mother, she taught him to play the piano and took him to the symphony. Though tuberculosis slowed him down as a teenager, Williams began performing at social events and formed his own gospel vocal quartet, the Jubilee Boys. By...
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Duke Ellington: Black, Brown & Beige, Joe Williams
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