Ellington: Black, Brown and Beige
Released: Feb 2013
Conductor JoAnn Falletta hereby testifies in support of Duke's contention that his music exists "beyond category." When leading the Buffalo Philharmonic through Maurice Peress' symphonic arrangements of two big Ellington pieces, she makes sure they don't forget to swing, either. In "Harlem," these players register as tougher and bluesier in this music than earlier, lead-footed symphonies. And if not as stomping as the composer's own band in "Black, Brown and Beige" (they almost trip in the finale), they do have some new things to say about its moments of dissonance and wallop. A key release.