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The Okeh Ellington

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Album Review

Although generally not as celebrated as his Victor recordings of the same period, Duke Ellington's performances for OKeh (late acquired by Columbia) are among the best of the period, featuring distinctive solos by the likes of trumpeter Bubber Miley (and later his replacement Cootie Williams), trombonist Tricky Sam Nanton (who, like Miley, was an expert with wah-wah mutes), clarinetist Barney Bigard, and altoist Johnny Hodges, among others. These 50 performances (which bypass Ellington's alternate takes) contain many classics, including his original theme "East St. Louis Toodle-oo," "Black and Tan Fantasy," "The Mooche," "Mood Indigo," and his two earliest solo piano sides. This is one of the best sets of early Ellington available.

Customer Reviews

Excellence In Duke's work!!

This is an excellent sounding compilation of Duke Ellington's early work for the Okeh label. Fantastic remastering makes it well worth the price of this album. If you love Duke's early works, you should have this album in your music library.


No one did it like Duke Ellington. He sure had a way with music. A master composer, pianist, and bandleader, Duke was one of the finest. Great album! Highly recommended!


Born: April 29, 1899 in Washington D.C.

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Duke Ellington was the most important composer in the history of jazz as well as being a bandleader who held his large group together continuously for almost 50 years. The two aspects of his career were related; Ellington used his band as a musical laboratory for his new compositions and shaped his writing specifically to showcase the talents of his bandmembers, many of whom remained with him for long periods. Ellington also wrote film scores and stage musicals, and several of his instrumental works...
Full Bio

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