« Ellington landmark sparkles » par The Denver Post

This is the most important jazz release yet from Milan. « Black, Brown & Beige » has long been one of my favourite Duke Ellington compositions, despite the lukewarm appraisal of some critics. The Duke used it to inaugurate his historic series of Carnegie Hall concerts in 1943, an epochal event in winning respectability for jazz. His later studio recordings of it date from 1944-45 and 1958. Divides into « Black, Brown & Beige » sections, the suite was Ellington’s attempt to portray the history of black Americans in music. French pianist/arranger Bolling has orchestrated what may be the most complete version ever, including his own finale reprising the « Work Song », « Come Sunday » and « Sugar Hill » themes. Blessed by the Duke’s son Mercer, this 43-minute CD is most notable for the quality of the Bolling big band. There may be no Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Cat Anderson or Ray Nance, but the French jazzmen play passionately, with a real feel for the idiom. Violinist Patrice Fontanarosa captures the spiritual quality of « Come Sunday » while vocalist Guylenn beautifully insinuates the lyric to « The Blues ». Other individual soloists are not identified, but some of the reed men in particular are of Ellington calibre. Great music, beautifully performed and recorded.