Duke Ellington, Uptown Downbeat

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
An anthology collecting key cuts from perhaps Ellington’s greatest trio.

It's not exactly as if Duke Ellington's body of work had been slack before his three-year association with bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor sax man Ben Webster, or would suffer enormously afterward: See his amazing late-'20s work and brilliant later albums like The Afro-Eurasian Eclipse for proof. But from 1940-42, Blanton and Webster fueled a dauntingly rounded array of work the Registry entered in toto. Several key cuts ("Never No Lament," "Dusk," "Harlem Air Shaft") appear on this appealing anthology.