Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Norris Tunney (alto saxophone, clarinet, flute); Russell Procope (alto saxophone, clarinet); Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone); Harold Ashby (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Harold Ashby (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet); Cat Anderson, Money Johnson, Mercer Ellington, Al Rubin, Fred Stone (trumpet, flugelhorn); Cootie Williams (trumpet); Booty Wood, Julian Priester (trombone); Dave Taylor, Chuck Connors (bass trombone); Wild Bill Davis (organ); Joe Benjamin (bass); Rufus Jones (drums).
Recorded at National Recording Studios, New York, New York on April 27, 1970 and May 13, 1970. Includes liner notes by Stanley Dance.
Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Norris Turney (flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (clarinet, bass clarinet, baritone saxophone); Russell Procope (clarinet, alto saxophone); Harold Ashby (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Fred Stone, Money Johnson, Alan Rubin, Mercer Ellington, Cat Anderson (trumpet, flugelhorn); Cootie Williams (trumpet); Julian Priester, Booty Wood (trombone); David Taylor , Chuck Connors (bass trombone); Wild Bill Davis (organ); Rufus "Speedy" Jones (drums).
Audio Mixer: Ilhan Mimaroglu.
Liner Note Author: Stanley Dance.
Recording information: National Recording Studio, New York, NY (04/27/1970/05/13/1970).
Editor: Ilhan Mimaroglu.
Arranger: Duke Ellington.
NEW ORLEANS SUITE runs in the vein of lengthy, orchestrally rich, dazzlingly complex pieces centered around a particular theme or concept, for which the Duke is so well known. A tribute to the musical legacy of the great city, NEW ORLEANS SUITE consists of five movements, each concentrating on a different facet in the personality of early jazz: the blues, the ragtime of street marching bands, and church music, for example.
Ellington's formal musical elements are astonishing as always, combining the high-mindedness of classical composition and arrangement with the swing and immediacy of the jazz idiom. Interspersed between the suite's movements are "portraits" of influential players such as Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. Superior ensemble playing heightens enjoyment of the album, and the solos are memorable, such as Paul Gonsalves' playing on "Portrait of Sidney Bechet" and the solo by Johnny Hodges (one of his last before his death) on "Blues for New Orleans." A beautiful and moving work, NEW ORLEANS SUITE is, on one hand, an acknowledgement of the inestimable importance of that cradle of jazz and, on the other, a piece that could only have been performed by the Duke himself.
Q (7/93, p.105) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...the suites [Ellington] composed during the last 15 years of his life are exceptional pieces of work. Arguably the greatest of these is the NEW ORLEANS SUITE (1970), which revisits jazz roots in a manner at once faithful and unimitative..."