DUKE WITH A DIFFERENCE
CLARK TERRY with JOHNNY HODGES, PAUL GONSALVES
Clark Terry (tp) Britt Woodman (tb) or Quentin Jackson (tb) Johnny Hodges (as) Paul Gonsalves (ts) Billy Strayhorn (p) or Tyree Blenn (vib) Jimmy Woode (b) Sam Woodyard (drs)
Vocal, on In a Sentimental Mood, by Marian Bruce. (Luther Henderson, celeste, added on this selection only.)
Arrangements: In a Sentimental Mood and Come Sunday (from “Black, Brown and Beige”) by Mercer Ellington; others by Clark Terry. New York; July 29 and September 6, 1957
C Jam Blues (3:02)
In A Sentimental Mood (2:53)
Just Squeeze Me (6:12)
Mood Indigo (6:53)
Take the A Train (3:15)
In a Mellotone (5:05)
Come Sunday (3:32)
This is an album that quite obviously, on the face of it, is very considerably concerned with paying homage to Duke Ellington. But recoded tributes to Duke have long been pretty easy to some by; ever since it was first realized, many years ago, that "Ellington" was a selling word. Even making use of strongly Ellington liked musicians is hardly unique. But this LP, as put together and led by CLARK TERRY, very definitely does have something unusual to offer, something rather more subtle and a great deal more musically rewarding than any mere routinely affectionate run through of Duke's compositions. Precisely as the album title puts it, this is Duke with a Difference.
For the intent here - and it's a concept that indicates an unusually deep and perceptive respect for Ellington and his work - is to demonstrate that Duke's is a universal music, not a special music. That it has the kind of strength and structure that can enable it to stand up wonderfully well when arranged - and improvised on - in a 'normal' jazz context. That, in short, it is jazz and not just some sort of exotic hot house flower.
Ellingtonia is, and has been for some thirty years, pretty much of a complete itself unit (made up of Duke's writing; his own arrangements and those of Billy Strayhorn and just a few others; the sound of certain star soloists). For this reason, it has never been easy to dissociate Duke's compositions from that readily identifiable Ellington sound and style. Other jazzmen playing his tunes so often seem inhibited by the remembrance of how Duke treated them. And even the famed "Ellington unit" recordings of the 1930s were primarily smaller reflections of the big band, pointing up the fact that even when Duke's sidemen play and record away from the framework of his orchestra, they very often carry with them the stamp of the Ellington sound. Very often - but not always. For his album is devoted to being a happy exception to the general rule...
The basic idea here, then, is to combine Ellington tunes, and people associated with his band, with independently creative, non Ellington jazz treatment of the music. The treatment consists of two outstandingly rich and haunting scorings by the Duke's highly talented son, Mercer Ellington, and a half dozen Terry charts designed to feature free and different blowing by Clark, tenorman Paul Gonsalves, and one of the all time jazz greats, altoist Johnny Hodges.
Duke's music responds remarkably and excitingly to this sort of approach, as Clark and the others were sure it would. Particularly in view of the fact that Terry has been an important member of Ellington band since '51, Gonsalves since '50, and Hodges for all except a few years of the time ever since 1928 (!), it was a highly stimulating kind of holiday for them to be able to take off in this way on numbers they had previously dealt with only within the framework of the celebrated Ellington tight knit musical discipline. Listen, for example, to the impeccable toned Hodges making a deliberately 'dirty' entry into his solo on Mood Indigo. That's a good clue to the overall feeling, with Johnny demonstrating just how timeless and unrestricted his jazz greatness actually is, with Gonsalves coming through as a driving, swinging modern soloist, and with Terry proving once again that he is (as critics like Nat Hentoff and Leonard Feather have been insisting) one of the very best and most unfairly under rated of today's trumpets.
A note on the personnel: All five of the horns, plus bassist Woode and drummer Woodyard, are members of the current Ellington orchestra. Billy Strayhorn has been associated with the Duke, as his chief arranger, since 1939, and his sensitive piano style has been heard on occasions with the band and frequently in small unit recordings. (Take the A Train, the Ellington band's long time theme and the only tune on the LP not written by the Duke, is a Strayhorn composition.)
Marian Bruce, who has sung with the band and has appeared in many clubs from New York to Paris, will shortly have a Riverside album of her own. Luther Henderson has written arrangements for Ellington at various times since 1944, was Lena Horne's accompanist, and in 1957 became musical director of Polly Bergen's network TV show.
A note on line up variations: Terry, Woode and Woodyard appear on all selections. Gonsalves, Woodman and Glenn are on all except In A Sentimental Mood and Come Sunday, which were made at the July 29 session; Strayhorn and Jackson appear only on those two selections. Hodges is on all numbers except Cottontail, A Train and Mellow Tone. Glenn also plays the first trombone solo on Cottontail.
Terry’s previous album for Riverside was –
Serenade to a Bus Seat: CLARK TERRY Quintet, with Johnny Griffin, Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers,
Philly Joe Jones (RLP 12-237)
He can also be heard on –
Brilliant Corners: THELONIOUS MONK, with Sonny Rollins, Ernie Henry, Clark Terry (RLP 12-226)
Other outstanding 12-inch High Fidelity Riverside jazz albums include –
Mulligan Meets Monk: THELONIOUS MONK and GERRY MULLIGAN (RLP 12-247)
That’s Him!: ABBEY LINCOLN sings; with Sonny Rollins, Kenny Dorham (RLP 12-251)
Monk’s Music: THELONIOUS MONK Septet; with Coleman Hawkins, Art Blakey (RLP 12-242)
The Sound of Sonny: SONNY ROLLINS (RLP 12-241)
2 Horns/2 Rhythm: KENNY DORHAM Quartet, featuring Ernie Henry (RLP 12-256)
HIGH FIDELITY Recording Riverside Reeves SPECTROSONIC High Fidelity Engineering
(Audio Compensation: RIAA Curve)
Produced and notes written by Orrin Keepnews
Cover by Paul Weller (photography) Paul Bacon (design)
Engineers: Jack Higgins, for Side 1, #2 and Side 2, #4 only, Jack Matthews, all others selections
(Reeves Sound Studios)
RIVERSIDE RECORDS are released by BILL GRAUER PRODUCTIONS
553 West 51st Street New York 19, N.Y.