Duke Ellington: Black, Brown and Beige (live 1943)


Black, Brown And Beige


Duke Ellington (piano)


The Carnegie Hall Concerts: January 1943 (Prestige 2PCD-34004-2)

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Duke Ellington (piano), Betty Roché (vocals), Rex Stewart (trumpet), Wallace Jones (trumpet), Harold 'Shorty' Baker (trumpet), Ray Nance (trumpet, violin), Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone), Lawrence Brown (trombone), Juan Tizol (trombone), Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Otto Hardwick (alto sax, clarinet), Chauncey Haughton (tenor sax, clarinet), Ben Webster (tenor sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Fred Guy (guitar), Junior Raglin (bass), Sonny Greer (drums, chimes, tympani).

Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: Carnegie Hall, New York, January 23, 1943


Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Preserving Duke's Carnegie Hall debut (attended by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, no less), this 3-part, 45-minute masterwork is subtitled "A Tone Parallel to the History of the Negro in America." Only Ellington would dare such epic ambition, for only he could pull it off. With customary aplomb, Duke introduces each movement. Black, echoing familiar themes ("Just A Sittin' & A Rockin'," "Jump for Joy"), is highlighted by Nanton's plunger-muted trombone. Brown showcases Betty Roché's authoritative vocal. Beige provides a wide-ranging, uplifting conclusion. Audio is awful, but musically and historically this is an American cultural landmark. There's no tone parallel to Duke Ellington.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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