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Piano In The Background

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01
Happy Go Lucky Local
3:00
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02
What Am I Here For
4:07
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03
Kinda Dukish/Rockin' In Rhythm
5:51
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04
Perdido
6:47
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05
I'm Beginning To See The Light
2:04
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06
Mid-Riff
4:27
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07
It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)
4:32
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08
Main Stem
4:14
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09
Take The "A" Train
5:32
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10
Lullaby Of Birdland
5:22
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11
The Wailer
4:25
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12
Dreamy Sort Of Thing
3:55
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13
Lullaby Of Birdland
5:26
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14
Harlem Air Shaft
4:03
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Album Information

Total Tracks: 14   Total Length: 63:45

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eMusic Features

1

Six Degrees of Duke Ellington’s Money Jungle

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

1

Six Degrees of Duke Ellington’s Money Jungle

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

0

Six Degrees of Thelonious Monk’s Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 2

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

0

Six Degrees of Thelonious Monk’s Genius of Modern Music, Vol. 2

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

0

Six Degrees of A Love Supreme

By Britt Robson, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

0

Six Degrees of A Love Supreme

By Britt Robson, Contributor

It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »

0

Music in a Hurry: Standard Transcriptions

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

When the Roots signed on as Jimmy Fallon's Late Night house band, there was a curious catch: NBC wouldn't be paying for the rights to any music, not even the band's own. Consequently. the Roots had to compose dozens of new pieces for on-air use. The upside: those pieces needed only be long enough to play the show in and out of commercials, or to accompany guests from the wings to the desk. Everything old becomes… more »

0

The Not Necessarily Happy Horns of Clark Terry

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

Can a musician's reputation be harmed by the persistent paying of a compliment? Clark Terry has a warm, plump, utterly distinctive sound on trumpet and its chubby pal the flugelhorn. He's rhythmically assured at any tempo, and has a deep feeling for the blues. But some writers fixate on how he has "the happiest sound in jazz," as if one trait defines his art. To be fair, it's not a rep he's run away from, having… more »

0

Chris McGregor: Cape Town to Free Town

By Kevin Whitehead, Contributor

It wasn't easy, being the interracial Blue Notes in 1963 apartheid South Africa: a black horns-and-rhythm combo with a white pianist/music director, Chris McGregor. They skipped out of Cape Town the following year: went to a French festival and didn't return. In London by '65, the quintet's members were welcomed by forward-looking jazz musicians: Steve Lacy drafted bassist Johnny Dyani and drummer Louis Moholo for the album The Forest and the Zoo, and an ill-fated… more »

They Say All Music Guide

Recorded in 1960, Piano in the Background’s title is a bit of a misnomer. While it’s true that Duke Ellington often didn’t appear on his recordings at all and this one is designed to showcase a series of new arrangements for the Ellington Orchestra, it also offers the composer and bandleader as a pianist leading the band. All of the album’s original nine cuts, as well as its five bonus tracks, are introduced by the man himself at the ivories, and he also takes each one out. The selection here is a beauty: from “Happy Go Lucky Local” from “Deep South Suite” and the nearly forgotten “What Am I Here For,” to a medley of “Kinda Dukish,” “Rockin’ in Rhythm,” “Perdido,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” and “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” to Billy Strayhorn’s classics “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Midriff.” These arrangements are crisp, sometimes startling, and dynamically performed. The bonus material includes Strayhorn’s “Dreamy Sort of Thing” and a couple takes of George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland” as well as Gerald Wilson’s awesome “The Wailer.” There is also a slippery read of the Duke’s “Harlem Air Shaft,” which was recorded at a session in 1961 and was previously unreleased. In all, this and the two discs that were reissued as companions to this one, Piano in the Foreground and Blues in Orbit, mark a highly creative and productive time in Ellington’s long career. – Thom Jurek

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