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.