Originally recorded in 1959, 1971 and 1972 “The Ellington Suites” was originally released in 1976 on LP and won a Grammy for Best Jazz Performance by a Big Band record and listening to it, it is not difficult to hear why. The original album was released on the Pablo label that was Norman Granz’s fourth record label that he founded in the 1970s after having started Clef in 1947, then Norgran and of course Verve in the 1950s which he sold in 1960. He called his new label Pablo as he was very friendly with the artist and owned many of his paintings, some of which he sold in auction in London in the late 1960s.
Anyway, back to this fabulous record. Ellington wrote the “Queen’s Suite” for Queen Elizabeth II and recorded it in 1969 and presented her with the only pressing at the time. The “Goutelas Suite” dates from 1971 and the three movement “Uwis Suite” from 1972. The Renaissance Man of Jazz shows just why he’s worthy of the title with these superbly conceived orchestral suites. The orchestra features alto saxophonist, Russell Procope and Tenor player Harry Carney on the Queen’s and Uwis Suites, with alto sax legend Johnny Hodges on the Queen’s Suite. Tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves is on both the Queen’s and Gouteles Suites. As with every Ellington band all the musicians are top notch. This album is are now available worldwide as part of the OJC Remasters series. From Amazon and iTunes.
Queen Elizabeth II talks to Duke Ellington at a private reception in Leeds, UK in 1958