A visit to the National Jazz Archive, housed in the Loughton library, and going through some Ellington pages (from so many books available at the library) reminded me of the only collaboration between one of the greatest trumpet players of jazz, Howard McGhee, with the Ellington's orchestra.
As you see in the image below, McGhee is filling the trumpet chair of the orchestra for three tracks, recorded on 31 January 1962 for CBS. These tracks, among other materials appeared on Midnight in Paris LP. The complete album is available on Villes Ville blog, a significant member of Ellingtonia in digital. This is the link to the page, but as Villes is undergoing almost everyday changes of the posts and links, just in case have a direct link to the player of the album here.
Many people think adding string section to jazz was something producers forced on jazz musicians to make their music more approachable for the average listener; making it more commercial as they used to say. Norman Granz, the legendary jazz impresario, offers an antithesis to this concept by stating that it was jazz musicians who were constantly asking for such accompaniment, believing that they can show their mastery in playing ballads - especially if they were equipped with reed instruments - by having a fluent, romantic background that string section usually endows to music.
Personally, I have nothing against romanticizing jazz, as I believe jazz is one of the last embodiments of the romantic approach to art, especially if it is executed by a giant such as Harry Carney, my favorite Baritone sax player of the first half of the 20th century.
"Berlin, Berlin, the city is a sin – you never go out the way you walked in!"
After some good years of productive collaboration between Ekkehard Wölk, Johannes Fink, and Andrea Marcelli, Ekkehard has driven them into a new concept which primarily consists of excitingly fresh interpretations of well-known musical standards related to the city of Berlin. The Ekkehard Wölk's new album is simply called The Berlin Album.
In terms of structure, the work is based on the legendary 1929 silent film Menschen Am Sonntag made collectively by Robert and Curt Siodmak, Billy Wilder, Edgar Ulmer, and Fred Zinnemann which describes the course of a single Sunday in the lives of four young people in Berlin.
"It seems to me that we have created not only a multifaceted musical kaleidoscope of jazz," says Ekkehard, "but we have also managed to forge an individual and playful reverence for our adopted hometown Berlin."
Ekkehard has incorporated some of Berlin’s most prominent composers from the past whose pieces have made a permanent contribution to the musical iconography of the city.