How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
A Portrait of Duke catches the spirit of the great master, Mr. Ellington. No small accomplishment. This is a band with a lively rhythm section, first-rate soloists, and horn/reed players who make music soulfully together.
This is a truly international band with members from the United States, the Netherlands (3), Belgium, Germany, and Australia. The extraordinary chemistry of this group likely has to do with old friends playing together, but also with this recording taking place directly after the band’s 1999 European tour. These musicians play with utter confidence and exquisite timing. A big dollop of credit should go to Frank Roberscheuten and Dan Barrett for their stylish septet arrangements.
The line-up of compositions is a mix of classic favorites and surprises while this band brings something new to each track - fresh Ellington! There are so many outstanding solo performances that it seems pointless to single out only a couple. The versatility of the players is also notable, with several of the musicians switching off on multiple instruments. Ultimately, the creativity of the players working as a unit is what lingers so deliciously. This is a delightful recording.
Track Listing: Take The A Train; Swing Pan Alley; I Didn
Personnel: Frank Robertscheuten, clarinet, alto sax, tenor sax; Dan Barrett, trombone, valve trombone, cornet; Tom Baker, cornet, trombone, tenor sax, alto sax; Joep Peters, baritone sax, alto sax, vocals; Onno de Bruijn, drums, maracas; Karel Algoed, bass; and Christian Hopkins, piano.