Never before released, this hour of music (22 tunes), with Duke Ellington And His Famous Orchestra, is comprised of three radio broadcasts made during a six-month engagement at the Hurricane Club in New York City in 1943. (This engagement marked Ellington’s first New York club-gig since he played the Cotton Club in 1938.) Ellington’s band was at the height of its popularity and proficiency at this time, boasting many star soloists, including Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, Sam Nanton, Rex Stewart, Ray Nance, Harry Carney, Lawrence Brown and the great vocalist Betty Roché. The musical repertoire consists primarily of Ellington’s and Billy Strayhorn’s greatest and most popular compositions. Ellington, himself, was very happy about the 6-month engagement at the Hurricane Club in New York City when these recordings were made, and was also very pleased by the overwhelming reception the fans gave his performances – all of which added to the exceptional high quality and enthusiasm which is so evident in the music on this CD. The orchestra is in top form, performing classic renditions of Ellington’s best music, including ”Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”, and ”What Am I Here For?”, and Betty Roché’s fantastic singing on ”I Don’t Know What Kind of Blues I’ve Got”.
Ray Nance, Rex Stewart, Harold Baker, Wallace Jones - trumpets , Lawrence Brown, Joseph Nanton, Jaun Tizol - trombones , Johnny Hodges - alto saxophone , Sax Mallard - alto saxophone and clarinet , Chauncey Haughton - clarinet , Ben Webster - tenor saxophone , Harry Carney - baritone saxophone and bass clarinet , Duke Ellington - piano , Fred Guy - guitar, Alvin “Junior” Raglin - bass , Sonny Greer - drums , Taft Jordan - trumpet, replaces Rex Stewart, Sandy Williams - trombone, replaces Lawrence Brown, Nat Jones - alto saxophone and clarinet, and Jimmy Hamilton - clarinet and tenor saxophone, replace Mallard and Haughton