Duke Ellington: A Tone Parallel To Harlem


A Tone Parallel To Harlem (The Harlem Suite)


Duke Ellington (piano)


Ellington Uptown (Sony Jazz 5129172)

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Duke Ellington (piano), Harold 'Shorty' Baker (trumpet), Willie Cook (trumpet), Ray Nance (trumpet), Clark Terry (trumpet), Juan Tizol (trombone), Britt Woodman (trombone), Jimmy Hamilton (clarinet, tenor sax), Willie Smith (alto sax), Russell Procope (alto sax, clarinet), Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Billy Strayhorn (piano), Wendell Marshall (bass), Louie Bellson (drums),

Francis Williams (trumpet), Quentin Jackson (trombone)


Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: New York, December 7, 1951


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Many fans back in the early 1950s thought that the arrival of the LP -- youngsters, that stands for "Long Playing" record -- would inspire jazz musicians to tackle extended works. No longer subject to the time limitations of a 78-rpm disk, the great minds of jazz would compose symphonies and suites, concertos and chamber works. Well, not quite. But Duke Ellington was certainly inspired by his newfound freedom, especially on his 14-minute A Tone Parallel To Harlem (The Harlem Suite). At age 52, Ellington was still at the peak of his abilities, and the bittersweet melody (entering at the nine-minute mark) that closes the piece is one of his finest. For my money, this composition and Duke's long and revamped version of "Mood Indigo" (from the Masterpieces LP) rank as his finest extended works of the decade.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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