Date of completion:
One of the few Black Hawk LPs to be released on CD before the label went belly-up, this is a tribute to Duke Ellington featuring Chico Freeman on tenor, alto, soprano, baritone saxophones, alto clarinet and bass clarinet, among other instruments. The music comes from several sessions and finds Freeman matched with fellow reedist John Purcell in a quintet, taking a medley of his “Sonnet” and Duke’s “Sophisticated Lady” on unaccompanied tenor, interacting with the synthesizer of Larry Willis and drummer Fred Waits in a trio, and sharing quartet/quintets with pianists George Cables and Mark Thompson, bassistsHerbie Lewis and Cecil McBee, and drummers Eddie Moore and Elvin Jones, plus (on “Dark Blue”) trumpeter Johnny Coles. Freeman performs some Ellington obscurities (including “Lightning Bugs & Frogs” and “In the Beginning God”), some of Duke’s ballads, and a few originals dedicated to Ellington. Heartfelt music.