Duke Ellington: Satin Doll (Live at the Whitney, 1972)


Satin Doll


Duke Ellington (piano)


Live at the Whitney (Impulse 173)

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Duke Ellington (piano), Joe Benjamin (bass),

Rufus Jones (drums)


Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: Whitney Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 10, 1972


Rating: 89/100 (learn more)

"Satin Doll' was Ellington's last substantial radio hit, and it remained a staple in his repertoire during the final two decades of his life. This version, recorded live at the Whitney, two years before his death, finds the composer performing the song in a trio setting. He manhandles his own famous standard, throwing in wry dissonances and building his solo from bits of musical shrapnel, jabbing phrases that seem designed to subvert the smooth accompaniment of bass and drums. For all his acclaim and popularity, Ellington could be a downright quirky keyboardist, and it is interesting to note that, while many others treat this song as a slick pop tune, the composer himself had no qualms about giving his "Satin Doll" a kick in the backside.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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