AN IMPULSE!

This Saturday morning, bright and still after a dull, drab, and flipping awful week, I’ve come over all spontaneous. This, friends, is my ‘Hello Weekend!’ soundtrack and I’m enjoying it so much I decided to share.

Everyone even remotely interested in the history of popular music and its antecedent, jazz, knows the name Duke Ellington. As composer, band leader, pianist and all round legend, Ellington contributed countless tunes to the ‘standard’ jazz repertoire across six decades. For those who enjoy statistics, he took home fourteen Grammys, notched up four partners, and raised one child.

Ellington recorded for RCA Victor, Okeh, Brunswick… in fact, almost every label operating in the 20s and 30s. Later in his storied career the span was equally impressive: Verve, Prestige, Reprise, Pablo, United Artists, even ‘contemporary’ jazz label Impulse! This, of course, was not uncommon in jazz. Artists recorded when and with whom they could; the long association of Miles Davis with Columbia was the exception rather than the rule. That peripatetic recording journey means jazz compilations are often varied and interesting affairs.

None more so than Impulsively Ellington! A Tribute To Duke Ellington, released on the famous orange-spined label in 1999. This wonderfully curated two-CD set covers the major bases of Duke’s career, offering a dazzling array of jazz performers and some enlightening versions of tunes associated with the man himself. The artwork is pretty cool too.

Johnny Hodges slinks and swings, Shirley Scott grooves at her organ, McCoy Tyner brings his unique talents to the ivories. From Benny Carter to Archie Shepp, Impulsively Ellington! is a fabulous intro to both the Duke and jazz in general. And for those already aficionados of the music, it’s like a Christmas stocking crammed full of delights, especially the multiple takes on several Ellington classics (three Cotton Tails, two Caravans, two Moods Indigo). Not a dud track amongst the twenty-eight cuts.


If you come across this compilation in your travels, don’t hesitate. An Impulse! can be a very good thing.

Do you have a compilation album that cheers you up after a tough week? Do share.

25 comments

  1. Oh! This looks and sounds excellent. I only have one Ellington (The Popular) though I have heard others via streaming.

    However, my very favourite compilation for a pick me up at the end of a tough week is Sinatra’s Greatest Hits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And do you sing along with Frank, J?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m with you J.
          Am also partial to Paul Simon Greatest Hits for a pick me up Saturday morning singalong – and on the mini-tramp when the mood is right.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. You are back with a vengeance. I would snafu this up in a minute.I like the stuff he did on Impulse. I like the stuff he did anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said, CB! I’ve got another Impulse! two-cd compilation that I might share sometime. Fascinating label.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll leave you with this. My neighbor (sweetheart of a guy) just gave me the vinyl ‘Blue World’ by Coltrane. It is a newly discovered/release of a soundtrack he did for a 1964 French/Canadian feature film. Another great Impulse recording.
        Look forward to your next take in this “fascinating” label

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ooh that sounds very tasty indeed. Coltrane is a whole degree course on his own.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. What a gorgeous collection. I love the artwork, absolutely top-notch.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love that interior artwork! I wonder which track that elegant couple is getting ready to swing/boogie to…?

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  5. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    Hey Bruce! Sorry to hear about your week but great to hear from you still…I’m going to look this one up. Thanks for the share!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers Bill. Biggest bummer was a burglary at the currently uninhabited home being renovated. Second break-in in three weeks. I’m attempting to learn disengagement from ‘stuff’. Still a way to go.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Ah crap, that’s no good. Really bad feeling; I’m sorry Bruce. Cheers indeed. Be well old friend!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Compilation to help after a tough week: Best of Marvin Gaye, Al Green’s Greatest Hits, then any of the Nick Lowe collections. Jesus of Cool, Basher, Quiet Please.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Soul man! And three Nick Lowe comps. That is keen, sir! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. good music is the perfect antidote for a rough week – glad to hear the Duke was helpful.
    Have you seen American Hustle? There’s a great scene early in the film where Christian Bale/Amy Adams listen to At Newport!

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    1. Don’t know the film, but get your point. Don’t you love it when films reference unusual and interesting music? I remember when Brubeck’s ‘Take Five’ comes on the jukebox in the utterly wonderful Pleasantville, I may (or may not) have squeaked with pleasure.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Such a reaction would be completely understandable!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Would you believe I grew up in the town of Pleasantville, New York? Was very tickled when the movie came out…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There really is a Pleasantville? That’s brilliant. Simply love the film… we recently introduced the boy (14 ½) to it and he really enjoyed it too. It’s also one of the few films I’ve written about here.
          Now, were there any differences between your Pleasantville and the film rendering? 🙂

          Like

        2. Here’s some heresy for you: I’ve never seen the celluloid Pleasantville…I’ll need to see it given your enthusiastic imprimatur!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Indeed you must. And let me know your reaction. 🙂

            Like

  8. One day, maybe, I’ll understand jazz. I’m going off topic. Are you a fan of Kasey Chambers? I haven’t thought about her in a decade. For some reason she caught my attention recently, and while googling her, I learned she wrote a memoir. I checked in with my library and they found that there is one copy available in the interlibrary loan program in the entire US. I’m reading it now. It’s nice spending the week in the Aussie music industry. Reading about her day to day life reminds me how little I know about Australia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jazz has quite a few entry doors, but they aren’t well lit. I came in two ways, via the polite ‘chamber’ jazz of the Modern Jazz Quartet et al, but also through jazz-rock: Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, the first two Billy Cobham albums.

      I don’t know Ms Chambers work well — more a name than anything else — but I really like the idea of you sitting somewhere in the US with the only publicly available copy of her memoir, daydreaming about Aus.

      Liked by 1 person

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