«Claude Bolling Big Band - A Tone Parallel In Harlem» by Duke Ellington Society

Although 12 mouths after Ellington’s centenary the not-quite millenium year of 2000 saw several record releases devoted to his music or commemorating him some way. These three come from France, probably the most Ellingtophile European country and, as far as I can discover, have not received coverage in British jazz publications. Claude Bolling needs no introduction to Blue Light readers for his devotion to Duke. I was in Paris in june 1999 at the Theatre des Champs Elysées for his one-night only representation of A Tone Parallel In Harlem, part of his acclaimed Homage a Duke Ellington concert. Tone Parallel is the opening (and longest, at just over 14 minutes) track of this generous helping of Ellington à la Bolling. Alas it is not taken from the concert but, like most of the tracks, is a studio recording. However it is gratifying to have a version other than Duke’s of this special work and Bolling does it full justice. Most of the remaining 14 selections are predictable Ellington war-horses (in my experience of hearing Bolling he is somewhat unadventurous in his programming, certainly in comparison with PeteLong when leading the already much-missed Echoes of Ellington Orchestra). DUKE ELLINGTON SOCIETY