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Money Jungle

Duke Ellington

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

Duke Ellington created some of the 20th century's most graceful and winsome music, and to be sure, those more elegant aspects of his personality shine through on many of these cuts. But for the most part, this album is difficult, chaotic, and intense listening. For this 1962 juggernaut, Ellington formed a piano trio with two next-generation stars: Charlie Mingus on bass and Max Roach on drums. Ellington was a hero to Mingus, yet here the thorny bassist seems intent on riling, prodding, and irritating the legendary pianist while Roach tries desperately to keep some sort of order. Ellington certainly doesn't shrink from the fight, offering some of his most challenging, discordant, far-reaching piano work. Listen to the dissonant, rumbling title track or the jolting "Wig Wise" or the sharp-toothed blues "Very Special," and it's hard to believe it's the Duke. Yet most impressively, it sounds like only Duke and nobody else. Enchanting solo readings of older cuts like "Solitude" and "Warm Valley" provide brief respites from the battle, and "Flurette Africaine" is lovely beyond words.

Customer Reviews

Crazy

If you are an Ellington fan (and if you’re not, you don’t enjoy music), this is a revelatory album. His playing is truly an amalgam of vintage and ‘60s near experimental. Not out-there Mingus, but he doesn’t just accompany by any means...

Singular

Money Jungle, Kind of Blue, and Soul Station are my three favorite jazz albums of all time. Listening to Money Jungle makes me think Ellington, Mingus, and Roach were holed up for a couple of days in the studio with either a case of gin or tequila and this is what came out. While Mobley’s Soul Station is lyrical and somewhat subdued, Money Jungle is wild and beautiful.

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