This is the first-time release of live radio broadcasts with the Duke Ellington Orchestra from the Hollywood Empire club in Los Angeles in 1949. This 71-minute/17-tune CD was recorded during a transitional period in Ellington's career, when the swing big bands were dying out and bebop was on the rise, and several of the tunes reflect the new bebop trend. Almost half of the compositions performed on this CD were never again performed by Duke Ellington. On this CD the Ellington Orchestra features Billy Strayhorn, Al Hibbler, Ben Webster, Ray Nance, Harry Carney and Johnny Hodges. As is usually the case with Duke Ellington, this CD deserves repeated listening in order to solve the "mystery" of Ellington's wonderful, complex musical ideas.
Shelton Hemphill, Al Killian, Francis Williams, Harold Baker - trumpet, Ray Nance - trumpet, violin & vocal, Lawrence Brown, Quentin Jackson, Tyree Glenn - trombone, Jimmy Hamilton - clarinet & tenor sax, Johnny Hodges, Russell Procope - alto sax, Ben Webster - tenor sax, Harry Carney - baritone sax, Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn - piano, Wendell Marshall - string bass, Sonny Greer - drums, Al Hibbler - vocal