The more I listen to Duke Ellington recordings, the more amazed I am. Not just by the quality of almost everything the man and his orchestra recorded, but that he was able to bring it all together so consistently.
Think about it with me for a second, children . . .
Here you had what was by all accounts the most undisciplined band of musicians in the business. It doesn't matter which lineup or what period we're talking about; they were a world class gaggle of wineheads, junkies, habitual latecomers and recidivist prima donnas.
And yet . . . night after night, recording session after recording session; whether in some smoke-filled, sleazy Elks Club out in Kallispell, Montana or the Mount Olympus of Carnegie Hall, Ellington could somehow transform this bunch into the most finely tuned instrument in all of American music.
Can this be said about Stan Kenton?