What we have here is the welcome memento of the Duke Ellington band’s 1959 European tour (these had pretty much become annual events). Berlin’s Sportpalast is not a concert hall and during the cursed Nazi reign often was the site of speeches by Hitler and his fellow criminals, but the hall can be said to have been thoroughly purified by sounds of jazz by the time of this concert.
Some observations regarding personnel: An important new voice in the trumpet section was that of Clark Terry, previously with Charlie Barnet and Count Basie, most prominently. He came into his own with Duke but left after feeling that he got little to play other than his feature, Perdido. Aside from Terry, a non-soloing but important lead voice in the trumpet section is that of Andres Merenguito, also known as Fats Ford, who had served in Louis Armstrong’s last big band. Fortunately, the great reed section, one of the greatest in jazz history, is intact - and in great form.
CD 1: Medley: Black And Tan Fantasy / Medley: Creole Love Call / Medley: The Mooche / Newport Up / Such Sweet Thunder / Sonnet To Hank Cinq / Kinda Dukish & Rockin’ In Rhythm / El Gato / Flirtibird / Things Ain’t What They Used To Be / Skin Deep
CD 2: VIP Boogie / Jam With Sam / St. Louis Blues / Bill Bailey / Walkin’ And Singin’ the Blues / Medley: Don’t Get Around Much Anymore / Medley: Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me / Medley: I Got It Bad / Medley: In A Sentimental Mood / Medley: Mood Indigo / Medley: I’m Beginning To See The Light / Medley: Sophisticated Lady / Medley: Caravan / Medley: Solitude / Medley: Satin Doll / Medley: I Let A Song Go Out Of My Heart & Don’t Get Around Much Anymore / Basin Street Blues