This CD reissues three unusual combo dates by Duke Ellington. Two of the sessions feature Ellington and his longtime musical partner Billy Strayhorn both playing piano (while assisted by either Wendell Marshall or Joe Shulman on bass and sometimes an unidentified drummer). The futuristic "Tonk" is the best-known performance but all eight numbers (which include "Cotton Tail" and "Johnny Come Lately") are quite fascinating. The remaining date has four songs that primarily serve as features for the cello of Oscar Pettiford who is accompanied by Ellington, bassist Lloyd Trotman, drummer Jo Jones and (on two tunes) the celeste of Strayhorn; "Perdido" and "Take the 'A' Train" are most memorable. Intriguing music.
Gain rare insight into the musical thinking of one of the most influential popular songwriters and arrangers in America. Donald Fagen analyses three Steely Dan hits ("Chain Lightning," "Peg," "Josie") and two solo works from his Grammy-nominated album Kamakiriad ("On The Dunes," "Teahouse On The Tracks"). These songs use familiar blues and R&B structures, and Donald explains how, by altering the bass line and chordal qualities, he transformed them into sophisticated jazz-rock compositions. You'll trace the development of increasingly complex pieces as Donald and Warren Bernhardt reveal each tune's singular structure, harmonic and rhythmic characteristic, intro ideas and other devices.