This CD edition presents the complete classic Columbia masterpiece 'Black, Brown and Beige' with Mahalia Jacksons poignant voice backed by the Ellington orchestra.
As a bonus, three vocal related Ellington works: the suite Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald (1957) Duke and Billy Strayhorns dedication to the famous singer and the only two vocal arrangements from the album Masterpieces (1950) by Ellington.
01. Black Brown & Beige, Part I (8:15)
02. Black Brown & Beige, Part II (6:11)
03. Black Brown & Beige, Part III (a.k.a. Light) (6:20)
04. Black Brown & Beige, Part IV (a.k.a. Come Sunday) (7:56)
05. Black Brown & Beige, Part V (a.k.a. Come Sunday interlude) (3:41)
06. Black Brown & Beige, Part VI (23rd Psalm) (3:05)
07. Portrait of Ella Fitzgerald (16:16) (*) Bonus Track
08. Mood Indigo (15:28) (*) Bonus Track
09. Sophisticated Lady (11:26) (*) Bonus Track
Total time: 78:42 min.
Tracks #1-6 originally issued in 1958 as Columbia CL-1162.
Personnel: Cat Anderson, Harold 'Shorty' Baker, Clark Terry (tp), Ray Nance (tp & vln), Quentin Jackson, Britt Woodman (tb), John Sanders (vtb), Jimmy Hamilton (cl), Russell Procope (as, cl), Bill Graham (as), Paul Gonsalves (ts), Harry Carney (bs, bcl, cl), Duke Ellington (p), Jimmy Woode (b), Sam Woodyard (d) and Mahalia Jackson (vcl on #4 & 6), Billy Staryhorn (vcl on #7), Yvonne Lanauze (vcl on #8 & 9). Recorded at Radio Recorders Studio, in Los Angeles, on February 4, 5, 11 & 12, 1958.
Track #7 recorded in Chicago, on September 2 & 3, 1957.
Track #8-9 recorded in New York City, on December 10, 1950.
"This album, Duke Ellington's revised version of his formerly 50-minute long "Black, Brown and Beige," has always been a bit of a disappointment. Stung by criticism from 15 years before, Ellington divided the suite into six much shorter sections, leaving in "Come Sunday" (which is hurt by Johnny Hodges's absence due to a brief illness) and "Work Song" and featuring gospel singer Mahalia Jackson during two of the parts. Despite some good moments, this rendition has little of the power of the original arrangement."
Scott Yanow -All Music Guide
"What Ellington and Mahalia have done is created a gentle, reverent, powerful prayer. There is nothing else I can write to describe or interpret this album. I was moved by it through more than six playings. I think it's the best work Duke's band has done in years. I think, too, that Mahalia's presence was a stimulus to the performance which makes this more than another Ellington LP, but rather an Ellington milestone."
Dom Cerulli -Down Beat (1958)