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The Pianist
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); John Lamb, Victor Gaskin, Paul Kondziela (bass); Rufus Jones, Sam Woodyard (drums).
  • Recorded in New York, New York in July 1966 and Las Vegas, Nevada in January 1970. Originally released on Fantasy (9462). Includes liner notes Ralph J. Gleason.
  • Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1992, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California)
  • Personnel: Duke Ellington (piano); Gus Bivona, Johnny Hodges (saxophone); Harold Baker, Charlie Shavers (trumpet); Lawrence Brown , Tommy Dorsey (trombone); Billy Strayhorn (piano); Rufus "Speedy" Jones, Sam Woodyard, Sonny Greer, Buddy Rich (drums).
  • Audio Remixers: Orrin Keepnews; Skip Shimmin.
  • Liner Note Authors: Claude CarriŠre; Ralph J. Gleason.
  • Recording information: Las Vegas, NV (07/18/1966-01/07/1970); New York, NY (07/18/1966-01/07/1970).
  • Unknown Contributor Roles: Paul Kondziela; Rufus "Speedy" Jones; John Lamb.
  • This is one of the infrequent albums where the Duke's often underrated piano playing is front-and-center. He often referred to himself as "a pencil cat"--that is, he wrote for what many (including perhaps, Duke himself) considered his instrument: the orchestra. But he was an excellent pianist, with a bluesy, thoughtful, humorous, spare style.
  • Ellington could convey more ideas in two or three well-placed notes than most pianists could in a 10-minute solo. Listen closely and you'll hear the influences of Gershwin, Ravel and Willie "The Lion" Smith melded seamlessly, and it's almost as if Ellington is a school of piano playing unto himself. If "Never Stop Remembering Bill" doesn't put you in a trance, or at least a wistful mood of romantic reverie, get yourself to a doctor. Relaxed, swinging sounds to unwind to; and fine stuff for fans of Duke and his piano.
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