Duke Ellington: Don't Get Around Much Anymore (1963)


Don't Get Around Much Anymore (1963)


Duke Ellington (piano)


Duke Ellington's Jazz Violin Session (Wounded Bird Records)

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Duke Ellington (piano), Stéphane Grappelli (violin), Ray Nance (violin),

Svend Asmussen (viola), Ernie Shepard (bass), Sam Woodyard (percussion)


Composed by Duke Ellington & Bob Russell


Recorded: Paris, February 22, 1963


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

This track, like "Take the 'A' Train" from the same album, employs an unusual instrumental mix to impart a unique sound and approach to a classic Ellington tune. Violinist Stéphane Grappelli plays with virtuosity undiminished from his historic 1930s recordings with Django Reinhardt; in fact, in depth of expression, it is enhanced.

The melody of this much-loved song is beautifully recognizable, and lends itself to creative thematic variations and rich embellishments. With spare, perfectly placed notes and chords, offering delicious tastes of the theme and aptly accompanied by a fine walking bass, Duke's intro sets the scene for Grappelli, whose extended lead offers a jazz-violin master class. He starts with a pair of 2-string, lower-range harmonic strokes played sharply so they slice through the air in an electrifying manner, then plays lower-range notes with rich tone, followed by soaring, brilliant high notes, and continues with beautifully creative lines taking off from the theme. Stéphane makes extraordinary use of the violin's deeply expressive capacities, including a full palette of single- and double-stop tonal colorations, creating a gorgeous French impressionist sound painting of the famous theme—with a dash of upward slurs to remind us of the blues foundation of all this jazz. Meanwhile, Ellington and the others provide superb support. This unusual and unusually fine music makes for outstanding jazz that also transcends jazz.

Reviewer: Dean Alger

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