Album of the Day
Concert in the Virgin Islands
Duke Ellington and his orchestra made a tour stop in the Virgin Islands in the mid-1960s and it must have been a memorable one to have inspired CONCERT IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS (which, despite its name, is a studio recording). “We wrote some of the music while we were down there, and finished it shortly after we returned home,” recalled the jazz icon. “We found a certain flavor there, musically and otherwise, that is genuinely unique.” The Caribbean groove that Ellington discovered comes through beautifully on the opening four songs (the “Virgin Islands Suite”), but even the older compositions are irresistibly buoyant, with such players as violinist Ray Nance, clarinetist Jimmy Hamilton and trumpeter Cat Anderson clearly having a ball. With excellent fidelity to match the performances, the 1965 CONCERT IN THE VIRGIN ISLANDS is a desert-island disc for any big band buff.