Thursday, November 14, 2013

Duke Ellington's Liberian Suite: I Like The Sunrise (Other Recordings)

Here are the recordings of I Like The Sunrise that I recommend using as reference recordings:

ORIGINAL ARRANGEMENT (Studio, With Vocal Overdubbed):
Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: The Chronological Classics: 1947-1948 Track 08
Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: Ellington Uptown

ORIGINAL ARRANGEMENT (Studio, Instrumental Only):
Duke Ellington And His Orchestra: The Chronological Classics_ 1947-1948 Track 07

ORIGINAL ARRANGEMENT (Live, Carnegie Hall Premiere):
Duke Ellington: Carnegie Hall Concert December 1947 CD 2

In the Carnegie Hall recording, Hibbler changes the first eight bars.

Original Studio First A:
I like the sunrise
'Cause it brings a new day
I like the sunrise
It brings new hope they say

Live First A:
I like the sunrise
'Cause it brings a new day
I like the new day
It brings new hope they say

It is unknown whether this was an intentional change by Ellington or merely a very slight mistake by Hibbler.  Given that the other Ellington recordings of this tune made over the next twenty years used the new version ("I like the new day"), I would suggest that Duke changed the lyric and stuck with the change.

ORIGINAL ARRANGEMENT (Studio, Alternate Take):
Duke Ellington: The Alternative Takes in Chronological Order Volume 10 1947-1951

Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington: Ella At Duke's Place

Ella uses the "I like the new day" variant in the first A section, per Hibbler's live performance.

This recording is another strong demonstration of the profoundly serious and reverential tone that this tune calls for.  (Come to think of it, I am rather surprised that Duke never recorded this tune with Mahalia Jackson, with whom he made a terrific studio recording of the Black movement of Black, Brown & Beige.)  Ella was a vocalist who had no trouble at all singing flirtatious or romantically, but you wouldn't know it from this recording.  Compared to a downright off-color recording like her deservedly famous turn on Love For Sale, this recording is almost reserved.  But it's not really reserved: rather, the energy and intensity is directed at reverence for God rather than desire for a lover.  That's the trick--this tune probably has more, rather than less, intensity to it than a Johnny Hodges ballad, but the intensity has a different color and hue than a Hodges ballad.  (Though, actually, the type of intensity that Hodges brings to Come Sunday is probably an exact match for this tune.)

Duke Ellington & Frank Sinatra: Francis A. & Edward K.

A third Ellington arrangement, different both from the Hibbler original and the Fitzgerald variant.

Sinatra also uses the "I like the new day" variant in the first A section, per Hibbler's live performance.  Another great demonstration of the reverential intensity necessary for this tune.  Probably nobody could play the smart-aleck or suave lady-killer than the Chairman Of The Board (incidentally, Sinatra got the nickname "Chairman Of The Board" by being the owner of Reprise Records, which employed Ellington for several years of great studio recordings in the 1960s).  But it doesn't come out on this recording.  Instead, Sinatra comes across as if he was singing in a choir at Mass.  (Which, not coincidentally, is exactly the theological tone behind the founding of Liberia and this tune.)

Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra: Portraits By Ellington

A terrific re-creation of the original Hibbler studio arrangement, using Ellington vocalist Milt Grayson for the Hibbler role.  (Check out his Great Paris Concert 1963 recording of Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me and his Great London Concerts 1963 recording of Don't Get Around Much Anymore.)  What an incredible voice!  And what an incredibly solid orchestra.  But what a huge disappointment that they had this chart in the book all the way back in 1992 and yet it took them until 2013 to finally release it through Essentially Ellington!  Better late than never, I suppose...

WDR Big Band Köln: The World Of Duke Ellington Vol. 1

Once again, Ellington alumnus Milt Grayson re-creates the Hibbler role in the original 1947 arrangement.  Terrific German public radio big band here.  I recommend the entire WDR Big Band Köl catalogue.  (Incidentally, their guest conductor on this album is Jerry Van Rooyen, who is the director of the pre-eminent Netherlands big band, the Dutch Jazz Orchestra.  The DJO has released a series of Strayhorn albums and an album focusing on Mary Lou Williams; all are outstanding and worthy of good jazz ears.

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