Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano, celeste); Russell Procope (alto saxophone, clarinet); Johnny Hodges (alto saxophone); Jimmy Hamilton (tenor saxophone, clarinet); Paul Gonsalves (tenor saxophone); Harry Carney (baritone saxophone); Shorty Baker, Clark Terry, Ray Nance, William "Cat" Anderson (trumpet); John Sanders, Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman (trombone); Billy Strayhorn (piano); Jimmy Woode (bass); Jimmy Johnson (drums).
Producer: Irving Townsend.
Reissue producer: Phil Schaap.
Includes liner notes by Irving Townsend, Wynton Marsalis and Phil Schaap.
Digitally remastered by Debra Parkinson (Sony Music Studios, New York, New York).
This was Duke Ellington's first film score, undertaken at the urging of Anatomy of a Murder's director, Otto Preminger. The full range of the composer's previous work was brought to bear on this 1959 work. Ellington was a natural choice to convey the rich and varied emotional moods of this drama. Tension and release, danger and safety, movement and stillness, darkness and light; the textural palette that was Ellington's signature was always compellingly cinematic.
In these orchestral settings, Duke's soloists (Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and others) shine, as their playing reflects true variations on a theme in a classical sense. That's not to say that this set doesn't swing, too -- "Happy Anatomy" is a short but fully cranked gallop. This is an album of rich variety and evocative writing. ~ Rovi Staff
Entertainment Weekly (10/12/01, p.36) - Ranked #44 in EW's "100 Best Movie Soundtracks" - "...Sometimes brassy, sometimes lurid, always brilliant..."
Mojo (Publisher) (6/02, p.64) - Included in Mojo's "100 Coolest Movie Soundtracks" - "...The compositions underline every on-screen moment yet breathe in an environment well away from the front stalls..."