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

"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.

May 23, 2008 · 0 comments

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McCoy Tyner: Satin Doll

If you only know McCoy Tyner from his Coltrane and post-Coltrane recordings, this early trio track may surprise you. Nights of Ballads and Blues is old-school Tyner. You will hear none of his familiar modal voicings. You will find none of his patented fourths-and-fifths-in-a-sprint licks. But the sheer beauty of his crisp touch is on display throughout, and the groove is irresistible on his casual reworking of the Ellington standard. This is not the place to start, if you are out to hear this pianist for the first time -- newbies should head immediately to the classic Coltrane quartet albums or Tyner's 1970s Milestone releases. But trio fans and Tyner-o-holics will want to check out this "Satin Doll."

May 23, 2008 · 0 comments

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Bola Sete: Satin Doll

Id have given this track a higher mark if not for the inferior quality of this recording. This marvelous bossa nova reading of the Ellington gem is a bonus track omitted from the original LP. I for one am usually grateful when bonus materials surface regardless of the quality (up to a point). Sete has long been one of my favorite guitarists and his dazzling technique is very much present here. Please note: the other re- released material on this disc is in much better shape than this.

October 27, 2007 · 0 comments

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