eMusic Review 0
A remarkable series of documents, Treasury Shows is a ten-volume, double-album set of Duke Ellington recordings recorded at the end of World War II. The albums feature Duke's incomparable orchestra playing live on the ABC network on a program created to sell victory bonds. These comprehensive albums combine hours of incredible music with unusual spoken asides: Duke himself is frequently heard doing promos in his debonair manner. Over the course of 20 volumes, the band is put through its paces, playing versions of Duke's original compositions, jazz standards, tunes associated with other big bands, pop hits and the occasional novelty number.
Although there's a lot of duplicated material, Ellington's arrangements, and the soloists playing over them, radically alter interpretations from one version to the next. Listen to some of the Duke's pitches for bonds, too — they help paint an interesting cultural picture of the time.
Any Duke Ellington album is ultimately about the music, though, and this incarnation of the Orchestra was a good one. The soloists play with more flexibility and humor here than in the studio. Try out Volume 11 and luxuriate in Johnny Hodges's sumptuous alto tone on a gorgeous obscurity called “Every Hour on the Hour.”… read more »