Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Duke Ellington - Jazz Violin Session (Atlantic - SD 1688)

Duke Ellington is one of Jazz's greatest names and he is truly a diversified player who has opened a world of possibilities to future Jazz players. There are really limited number of Jazz giants who has not mentioned his name as one of their idols.

Duke Ellington has made a huge amount of records and played in unaccountable number of concerts. When he went to a city to have a big concert with his band, he arranged smaller concerts in their free days just to create some extra for regular fee players as well as create a "real" feeling during their shows. It is really hard to find a man who can be this much of a giver and this much of a concert-oholic.

This is the record of a session which was recorded in Paris in 1963. Unfortunately the first ever release was on Atlantic records 2 years after his death. He made himself extremely clear in his critics saying that the music was a little different than the mainstreamer's likes and therefore never released. It is obviously evident that he has enjoyed this session and the sound that they have created.

Actually not to create a misunderstanding, violin was pretty much always a part of Jazz, but it is hard to say it was very well recognized. The main issue here should be noted as it has a milder sound unlike the trumpet, the saxophone or the bass. I'm not even mentioning drums of course. However, after amplifiers got their share of the deal, violin's sound became more evident.

This record features a violin trio which is composed of 2 violins and a viola. The viola is played by Svend Asmussen, a Danish violin player. Moreover, the contrasts in the techniques of the two other violinists, Stephane Granelli and Ray Nance create the real felling that is flowing throughout the tracks.

There are some standards on this record as well as some more harder to come by songs. All in all, listening to it gives a feeling of freshness, smoothness and joy. This will surely be one of the records that I'll turn back to play quite often when I'm in need of listening something "real".


  1. On the DVD documentary Stephane Grappelli: A Life in the Jazz Century, Grappelli notes with disappointment that he never had a copy of this record. The interview was done probably in the early 90s.

  2. I would have gladfully given it to him. Grapelli has earned great respect all around.