Duke Ellington: Black and Tan Fantasy (Brunswick)
Black and Tan Fantasy
Duke Ellington (piano)
Early Ellington: The Complete Brunswick and Vocalion Recordings of Duke Ellington, 1926-1931 (Decca/GRP GRD-3-640)
Fred Guy, banjo; Mack Shaw, tuba; other personnel unknown.
Recorded: New York, April 7, 1927
Rating: 87/100 (learn more)
A timeless classic of early big-band jazz, this was perhaps the first Ellington tune to really capture the ears of the music industry. It reveals that much of Dukeís compositional character was already in place by 1927: the layering of multiple themes, shifting of moods and tempi, and plenty of freedom for players like Miley and Hardwicke to express their own personalities. This reissue is sullied by poor-quality, scratchy masters that GRP apparently didnít bother to clean up, but that doesnít take much away from the enjoyable performance.
Reviewer: Todd S. Jenkins