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Far East Suite

Duke Ellington

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Album Review

This third CD edition of Duke Ellington's masterwork, Far East Suite, recorded after two grueling tours of the Middle and Far East in the early- to mid-'60s, is, hopefully, the definitive version. Issued in 2003's Bluebird First Editions series, the album has been lovingly compiled to include a fine set of liner notes by Stephanie Stein Crease (the originals are also included on the back panel), as well as seven bonus tracks, all of which are alternate takes, five released here for the first time — two of the four from the "Special Mix" edition" are here, while two more are left off. The endless repackages of jazz classics are becoming tedious, but this one is worth it. The alternates reveal not only works as they developed, such as the truly transcendent "Isfahan," but even a newer alternate of "Bluebird of Delhi." This is one that Ellington aficionados need.

Customer Reviews

Jazz Masterpiece

The Far East Suite is one of the greatest masterpieces in jazz history. Ellington and Strayhorn were certainly inspired by the Orchestra's extended State Dept Tour of the Middle and Far East, and the composers put all those experiences into the arrangements. The result is an Ellingtonian tone poem of remarkable beauty and power. One of Duke's greatest accomplishments.

Biography

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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