In April 1945, to promote the sale of war bonds, the Treasury Department contracted Duke Ellington to do a series of 55 min public broadcasts. This double CD contains a series of recordings from Paramount Theatre and the famous Hurricane Club complete with radio speaks and encouragements to buy bonds + bonus material and extensive liner notes.
CD 1 contains a radio broadcast from The Rehearsal Hall at Paramount Theatre, New York, June 1, 1946 plus bonus tracks from The Hurricane Club in New York, September 10, 1943.
CD 2 features a broadcast from WEEU Studios, Reading, P.A., June 8, 1946. The last tracks are again from The Hurricane Club but from September 7, 1943.
“Big bands were dying off like the dinosaurs, but Ellington transcended Swing and its era. Television was in its developmental stage and by the 1950s would supersede radio. Duke Ellington would outlive the reign of the medium that he so well mastered”, writes Ken Steiner, author of the extensive liner notes, and concludes: ”The band must have been saving its best for this broadcast, which finds them in top form.”
It is also worth noting that 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer and pianist William “Billy” Strayhorn. His contribution to the Ellington organisation can hardly be overstated and is evident on this CD, which also serves as a tribute to his genius. Not just artistically was he influential — Ellington described Strayhorn as “the eyes in the back of his head”!