Cat Anderson, Shorty Baker (tp), Clark Terry (flh), Quentin Jackson (tb), Johnny Hodges (as), Jimmy Hamilton (cl), Ben Webster, Harold Ashby (ts), Harry Carney (bs), Billy Strayhorn (p), Skeeter Best (g), Wendell Marshall (b), Gus Johnson (d)
Reference: FSRCD 531
Bar code: 8427328605311
Until Stepping into Swing Society, by Mercer Ellingtons orchestra, was released in 1959, many jazz fans were scarcely aware that Duke had a talented son with a career of his own. Billy Strayhorn, Wendell Marshall, and John Sanders worked for Mercer before their jobs with Duke. His next album, Colors in Rhythm, along with its predecessor, were Mercers definitive introduction as a band-leader. The arrangements here are by such Ellington disciples as Mercer, Luther Henderson, Dick Vance, Andy Gibson Jimmy Hamilton, Billy Strayhorn, and Jimmy Jones. The playing is by nearly all of Dukes then-current stalwart sidemen, including Johnny Hodges, Clark Terry, and Harry Carney, and also a few of his legendary ex band members, such as Ben Webster, one of the most compelling of all tenor
saxophonists. It was he who once looked up from his music, adjusted his reed, and declared: Mercer Ellington: you got the key! His verdict is confirmed here in the rich orchestral colours and superb use of soloists found in the best of Ellington; the band is swinging, full-bodied and, where the past is revisited, puts it in a fresh perspective.