Felt quite ashamed of myself when I realised I have never posted any Ellington here at Orgy in Rhythm so here's a real corker from the Duke from 1963. This was the first album that opened my ears to his wonderful music when I picked I up a battered vinyl copy from a dumper bin many years ago.You'll be pleased to hear I've ripped this post from a cd reissue instead at 320.Here's a review from Andrew R Weiss which I lifted from Amazon:
This is the first album Ellington made for Reprise records. Reprise made a big deal of creating a separate production unit for Ellington and giving him full artistic control. Ellington had also made changes to his orchestra, the most important being the return of Cootie Williams, which gave him a trumpet section featuring Williams, Ray Nance, and Cat Anderson, and the other being the addition of Ernie Shephard on bass. The arrangement with Reprise and the new personnel must have agreed with him, because he came up with an entire album of new material, based on the "theme" of afro-bossa-nova rhythm. Ellington had just left Columbia records, and his last albums for Columbia were not especially inspired. This one is. It starts with a rollicking "Afro Bossa", which Ellington dubbed the "Gut-Bucket Bolero", and continues with a highly varied series of selections reminiscent in range and quality to "Such Sweet Thunder". Solos are great throughout, especially Nance, who seems more inspired by Williams' presence, Lawrence Brown, Williams, and (of course) Hodges and Gonsalves. Cat Anderson does a nice turn of high-note trumpet work on the last cut. All in all, a fine album. It got 5 stars from DownBeat magazine when it first came out, and it's well worthy of all of them. It's a shame that this isn't more easily available.