Duke Ellington: Reflections in D


Reflections in D


Duke Ellington (piano)


Piano Reflections (Capitol 92863)

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Duke Ellington (piano).

Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: Hollywood, April 13, 1953


Rating: 98/100 (learn more)

A week before he recorded this introspective solo piano piece, Ellington brought his band into the studio to make "Satin Doll" -- which would prove to be the Duke's last hit single. You couldn't imagine a much starker contrast than between the old "Switch-e-Roony" and this classically oriented composition, with its sensibility of European impressionist concert-hall fare. Ellington left behind stacks of scores and LPs, but not enough solo piano work to suit my tastes. This sophisticated yet heartfelt track gives us a glimpse of an intimate Duke that we rarely got to hear on record. A decade later, in a 1964 interview with Carter Harman, Ellington disagreed vehemently when his interlocutor suggested that Duke didn't write "pretty music." "I like that kind of music," the composer insisted. "I write pretty music, yeah!" He might have cited this track as evidence. To some extent, Ellington anticipates the later work of Bill Evans with his thick and juicy chord voicings hereóno wonder Evans recorded this piece himself 25 years later.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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