The Duke Box includes more than eight hours of music from what many consider the greatest decade (1940s) of the greatest orchestra in the history of jazz. This 8CD box set captures Duke Ellington and his musicians, including Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Lawrence Brown, ‘Tricky’ Sam Nanton, Harry Carney, Rex Stewart, Barney Bigard and Jimmy Blanton, live in dance halls, night clubs, concert halls and radio stations.
We are lucky indeed that these slice-of-life documents survive, or were made in the first place, such as the unique Fargo dance date (what was captured that long night is a veritable treasure trove of music) and hearing it chronologically places this grand music in a very special and illuminating perspective. All your favourite Ellington standards (including Sophisticated Lady, Mood Indigo, ‘C’ Jam Blues, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore and Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me) are here as well as some rare tracks that even seasoned Ellingtonians will encounter for the first time.
The accompanying 40 page illustrated booklet includes liner notes by Dan Morgenstern and photographs by Herman Leonard and William Gottlieb.