With the exception of "Warm Valley" and "Take the ‘A’ Train," Duke Ellington’s Yale Concert consisted of pieces new to most listeners and certainly new to the maestro’s recorded repertoire. The band felt at home with the Yale audience in the vast reaches of Woolsey Hall and performed with its inimitable blend of relaxation and intensity. There are superb solos from Cootie Williams, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, and Cat Anderson. The band’s pianist conspires with bassist Jeff Castleman to create for the occasion a blues built around Yale’s theme song. Ellington’s spoken introductions are part of the entertainment, archly inventive complements to the music. Yale Concert preserves a fine Ellington one-nighter.
with Cat Anderson, Cootie Williams, Mercer Ellington, Chuck Connors, Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope, Paul Gonsalves, Jimmy Hamilton, Harry Carney, Sam Woodyard, and others