Label: Rarity Music
In the 1950s Duke Ellington found a home at Columbia Records, where he was able to record longer works. The label promoted Ellington as a serious musical artist and aimed him toward the new LP market. Ellington Uptown, from 1953, is a complete blast, matching Ellington's swing-era feel with modernist touches gleaned from bop and orchestral works. The opening eight cuts show how much verve Ellington's new drummer, Louie Bellson, brought to the band (especially on this remastered version), while the five-piece suite that finishes the album illustrates Ellington and Billy Strayhorn's knack for experimentation.