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Michael J. Connor (Waltham, MA USA)

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The Treasury Shows Volume 6
The Treasury Shows Volume 6
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5.0 out of 5 stars Let the Zoomers Drool, June 22 2003
The Treasury Shows Volume 6
In 1945 and 1946 the United States Treasury sponsored "Your Staturday Date with the Duke" on the Blue Network. Ellington was contracted to sell war bonds, and the choice of the music to be played was his and his alone. For the last few years the Danish Jazz Label Storyville has been releasing these Treasury Shows in order. Here at we get a broadcast from the Franklin Gardens in Evanville Indiana, the Palace Theatre in Akron, Ohio, and we also get an airshot from the New Zanzibar from October 28, 1945.
This one, Volume 6, happens to be my favorite. There are loads of Live Ellington CD's out there. From airshots from the Cotton Club in 1938, to Carnegie Hall from the January 1943, to Newport and the list goes on. But this live performance from Evansville Indiana from June 16, 1945 is my favorite.
It's not that Johnny Hodges plays like a dream on "On The Sunny Side of the Street." Or the great live versions of Blue Serge, Jumpin' Punkins, Cotton Tail, Ko-ko, Boy Meets Horn, and the rarely featured Blue Belles of Harlem. No it goes beyond that. You see at Evansville Ellington played my favorite version of my favorite song of his. New World A-Coming was written for Ellington's December 1943 concert at Carnegie Hall. He took the title from Roi Ottley's book. He then put the song in the band's book but did not perform it on regular basis. Here with the Treasury Shows Ellington spotlighted his own longer compositions after the station break. Here is Ellington playing at his most European, his most avant gaurd and yet his stride style is also featured. This is a song that looks forward and backward.
So let zoomers drool.

New Orleans Suite
New Orleans Suite
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Orleans Suite, July 30 2002
This review is from: New Orleans Suite (Audio CD)
The New Orleans Suite:
1970 was an exceptionally busy year for Duke Ellington. In January he toured the Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. In April he premiered the New Orleans Suite in New Orleans. April 27, 1970 he records five of the songs, Johnny Hodges died on May 11, 1970, The portraits were recorded on May 13, 1970, Ellington began recording "The River" on May 25, 1970. On May 28, 1970 Ellington records with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. On June 3, 1970 he records more for the River, recording continues on June 8, 1970, and June 15, 1970. (See Private Collection Volume 5 for the River recordings.) The Ballet premiered on June 25, 1970. At the end of June he began a tour of Europe which lasts until the middle of August. On
September 18, 1970 Ellington premiered the Afro Eurasian Eclipse at Monterey. And so on.
As stated above, The New Orleans Suite was recorded at two separate sessions. Blues for New Orleans, Bourbon
Street Jingling Jollies, Thanks for the Beautiful Land on the Delta, Second Line, Aristocracy a la Jean LaFitte were recorded on April 27, 1970. It was Johnny Hodges last recording session. Cat Anderson was not at that recording session. Fred Stone and Al Rubin replaced him. On May 13, 1970 Cat Anderson returned and Money Johnson and Al Rubin departed.
Though I like all the songs, the Portraits are the ones I find most interesting. The Portraits have a conection with New Orleans and with Duke Ellington. " Portrait of Louis Armstrong" has Cootie Williams's gorgeous open horn tribute to his idol. It is one of Williams last great features.
It's a great piece. Ellington and Armstrong recorded together in 1961.
Wellman Braud was Ellington's bass player from 1926 until 1935. This portrait has Harry Carney on bass clarinet and Joe Benjamin on bass mimic Braud's bass playing style.
Portrait of Mahalia Jackson is Ellington's second recorded portrait of the singer. The first "Mahalia" was included in the Girls' Suite (1961). That piece is copyrighted by Ellington, but van de Leur says it's probably by Strayhorn. Norris Turney's flute is what I remember most about this portrait. Mahalia Jackson and Ellington recorded together in 1958.
The Portrait of Sidney Bechet was planned as a feature for Johnny Hodges on soprano saxophone. (His first such feature since the early 1940's.) But as Hodges had died two days
before it was given to Paul Gonsalves. Sidney Bechet was in Ellington's band for a few weeks in the 1920's.

The Far East Suite
The Far East Suite
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just Another Masterpiece, July 19 2002
This review is from: The Far East Suite (Audio CD)
Oscar Peterson tells a story about Duke Ellington. At the end of an JATP performance Ellington and Peterson were on stage. The piano had not yet been packed away so Ellington asked Peterson to play something. Peterson sat down and played a song, and after he finished he turned to Ellington and asked something like "don't you know this song? You wrote it." (It was Ellington's "Lady of the Lavender Mist.") Ellington shrugged and replied that he wasn't interested in what he wrote before. He was only interested in what he was going to write next.
Though "The Far East Suite" was recorded between December 19, and December 21, 1966 it was assembled from songs written by Strayhorn and Ellington between 1963 and 1966.
ELF (a Strayhorn song) was first recorded on July 18, 1963 which was before the State Department tour in the autumn of 1963. See The Private Collection Volume 4 for that version. It was retitled Isfahan after the State Department tour in the autumn of 1963. At first it was not considered part of the Impressions of the Far East, as it was performed seperately from those four other pieces during the winter and spring of 1964. After the recordings on this disk Ellington performed just once more in concert on January 30, 1968.
Impressions of the Far East debuted on February 15, 1964. There are four song in this first impression, Amad, Agra, Bluebird of Delhi, and Depk. (Agra and Bluebird of Delhi are Strayhorn compositions) These songs were performed as a unit in this order through out the spring of 1964, and they were recorded in the studio on March 17 and 19, 1965, but as far as I can tell those recordings remain unissued.
The two versions of Amad here on this CD are the last two Ellington performed. Agra was not performed again. Same for Depk. After these two versions of Bluebird of Delhi on this disk, the song was performed only three more times.
Blue Pepper was recorded on December 21, 1966, and that's it. Ellington put it up on the shelf, never to perform it again.
Mount Harissa debuted on November 29, 1966 and was performed by Ellington during the spring of 1967. There is a live version on "The Greatest Jazz Concert in the World." It's a great feature for Paul Gonsalves.
Tourist Point of View exists in two versions that were recorded on December 19, 1966, and that's it. Ellington put it up on the shelf, and never performed it again. Too bad--it's a great feature for Paul Gonsalves.
Ad Lib on Nippon has four parts, Part 1 (a slow piano solo) , Igoo (up tempo piano followed by the band), Part 3 (a different slow piano solo) and Tokyo. The first three parts feature Ellington and the fourth part features Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet. It was first performed in June 1964 in Japan and was a frequent feature of Ellington's concerts in 1964 and 1965. It was first recorded in the studio in March 1965 (See Private Collection Volume 10 for that version) while Ellington was under contract to Reprise. The one on this CD is his last performance. It also went up on the shelf.
For me, the fact that Ellington DID NOT perform these songs much in concert after they were recorded in December 1966 is the strangest part. Maybe I written too much about the performance histories of these songs. Still even with all Ellington had done before, and even with these songs, he wasn't satisfied. He moved on. He was interested in something else, something new. That's the real greatness of Duke Ellington.
Nielsen's Jazz Records Volume 6, and van de Leur's Something To Live For were consulted for this review.

On the Road With Duke Ellington
On the Road With Duke Ellington

4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome To Duke's World, July 6 2002
"One the Road With Duke Ellington" was first broadcast on October 13, 1967 on NBC. Filming began in earlier that year. Here's an idea of what is included in the film.
In April 1967 Ellington prepared his "Salute to Morgan State." He performed it on May 1, 1967. (Ellington received an Honorary Doctorate from the College.) He also performed "Take the A Train" and "Jones" which are included in the film.
On May 31, 1967 Billy Strayhorn died. Included in this documentary is footage of Ellington at Strayhorn's funeral.
On July 11, 1967 he and his band were in the RCA studios recording "Rondolet." This is included on the "Private Collection Volume 8"cd.
On July 26, 1967 he performed at the Gillmore Brothers Auto Park in Kalamazoo Michigan where (probably) "Traffic Jam" (aka "The Biggest and Busiest Intersection") and "In the Beginning God" were recorded.
Other interviews were filmed during the summer and early fall of 1967.
I don't know when Louis Armstrong showed up back stage to talk to Ellington, but it's very interesting. You see Ellington pull his cheek kissing bit (four kisses--one for each cheek) on Armstrong about two years before he pulled the same bit on Richard Nixon.
It should be said that the musical numbers are often abridged. No doubt that will anger some viewers, but it is fine by me. You can listen to Ellington's music any time. And this film really isn't about Ellington performing his music, it's about Ellington getting up in the morning, having his potato and steak breakfast, making calls, answering his mail, noodling at the piano, going on stage and performing, flirting with women (both young and old). For a 68 year old man, he's living just the way he wants to. He gets to write his music, record it, and perform it. Like I said--Welcome To Duke's World.

Live & Rare
Live & Rare
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3.0 out of 5 stars If you don't have this CD set you're not missing much, June 21 2002
This review is from: Live & Rare (Audio CD)
It's hard for me to work up much enthusiam for this 3 cd set. The first cd has excerpts from Ellington's two concerts in Eastbourne England on December 1, 1973. Except for a taping at the BBC a few days later, these were concerts were Ellington's last recorded concerts in Europe, and only a few months later he was dead. The band is still functioning, but it's just a shadow of the band it was even just a few years earlier. The Piano Player and Meditation, the two Ellington features are the highlights.
The second cd has The Duke at Tanglewood--Ellington's collaboration with Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops. This is the least successful of Ellington's crossover projects. Instead of performing the material that Ellington wrote with orchestration in mind, say, "Night Creature," we get some of Ellington's popular hits orchestrated for the Pops. Although Fiedler had great respect for Ellington, he found it very difficult to work with him. The producers have added promotional material to the orignial release. This interweaving doesn't add much to the material.
The third cd has the songs that Ellington recorded for Reader's Digest in 1969. "The whole set suggests the sound of the band at a sophisticated wedding party..." says the liner notes. That's not much of an endorsement. Of all of Ellington's recordings these interest me the least. Very few of these songs were ever performed by Ellington in public.

Love You Madly
Love You Madly
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3.0 out of 5 stars Carnegie Hall on November 14, 1952, June 21 2002
This review is from: Love You Madly (Audio CD)
Love You Madly
The music on this CD was recorded at Carnegie Hall on November 14, 1952. During his long career Ellington played many prestigious venues including Newport, Theatre Des Champs Elysees, and The Royal Albert Hall, but perhaps the most important venue for Ellington was Carnegie Hall. Starting in 1943 and continuing for several years Ellington would stage concerts at Carnegie Hall to showcase his compositions and his soloists. Many of these concerts are groundbreaking. However this one is not a groundbreaking concert. The sound quality is only fair, and the only long piece is "The Tatooed Bride." (The version recorded at Ellington's November 13, 1948 Carnegie Hall concert is superior.) There have to be atleast 15 or 20 CD's of Ellington's concerts which are better than this one. For completests only. Dizzy Gilespie shows up on "Body and Soul."

Yale Concert
Yale Concert
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5.0 out of 5 stars In the studio with Duke, June 8 2002
This review is from: Yale Concert (Audio CD)
Yale Concert
Nielsen's "Jazz Records, 1942-1980 Volume 6--Duke Ellington." tells us that Ellington's Yale Concert was on January 26, 1968 at Woolsey Hall. Only "Boola Boola" from that concert was released on this cd. In February 1968 Ellington and his band went into the Fantasy Studios in New York city and rerecorded the other songs on this cd. Ellington's introductions and the audience reactions are from the Yale concert, but the music is from the studio. That's not a knock on the music. The music is first rate.

Second Sacred Concert
Second Sacred Concert
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discography, June 8 2002
This review is from: Second Sacred Concert (Audio CD)
Second Sacred Concert.
This cd is not a live concert. Ellington's Second Sacred Concert premiered on January 19, 1968 at The Cathedral of St. John Divine in New York City. On January 22, 1968 the numbers featuring Alice Babs were recorded at Fine Studios in New York city. They are "Almighty God," "Heaven," "It's Freedom,"
"TGTT," and "Praise God and Dance." The remaining numbers were recorded at Fine Studios on February 19-20, 1968.

A Grammar of Shakespeare's Language
A Grammar of Shakespeare's Language
by N. F. Blake
Edition: Hardcover
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book on Shakespeare in a Very Long Time, May 11 2002
I am reviewing N. F. Blake's "A Grammar of Shakespeare's Language"
This is the best book about Shakespeare's art in quite a long time. It is so because it focuses on the grammatical norms of Shakespeare's English.
This is a book that adds to our understanding of Shakespeare because it describes in great detail the syntax of the English of Shakespeare's plays and poems. This grammar uses terms from traditional grammar like adjective and adverb, and it also uses terms from functional grammar such as "noun head," "do-periphrasis," and "discourse analysis." A familiarity with the grammars of Quirk, Greenbaum, Svartvik and Leech is not essential but will make Blake's grammar easier to read.
Blake uses the Norton Facsimile (second editition), the Allen and Muir edition of Shakepeare's quarto facsimilies, and 19th Century facsimiles as his sources. It is a bold choice to do so because he wants to demonstrate the features of Shakepeare's grammar with a minimum of editorial interference. But then Blake ties his citations to the line numbering from the Oxford edition because he says this edition was more accessable to the ordinary reader. I confess that I do not find the choice convienent. I would have preferred that he cited the sources that he used directly because it would have been easier to verify his conclusions.
It should be stressed that this book limits itself to the syntax and usage found in Shakespeare plays and poems. It is not a comprehensive grammar of Early Modern English. There are features which show up in Early Modern English which do not show up in Shakespeare's writings. For example, on page 208 Blake writes that "In ShE "not" is never abbrivated to "n't"....which sets it apart from PdE where forms like "don't" are common." "N't" is found in Early Modern English. Though it is true that Shakespeare did not use contractions like "won't," his contempory Thomas Middleton did. See "The Family of Love" (1607) act iv, scene iv, line 49. Gudgeon says to Purge "A pile on ye, won't you! had you not been so manable, here are some would have saved you that labour."
The word "don't" does appear in the 1623 folio, but not as a contraction of "do not" but as a contraction of "done it." See Macbeth act 2, scene 2, line 13 (Norton2 p. 744 col. 2)
But these are minor criticisms. This grammar is authoritative. Shakespeare's readers at all levels will find many things to interest them.

Applause First Folio of Shakespeare in Modern Type: Comedies, Histories & Tragedies
Applause First Folio of Shakespeare in Modern Type: Comedies, Histories & Tragedies
by William Shakespeare
Edition: Hardcover
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Crazy Scheme?, Dec 26 2001
A Crazy Scheme?
The Applause First Folio of Shakespeare should not be confused with a facsimile of the 1623 folio published by Applause in the 1990's. In the earlier facsmile, Applause used the images from
the Norton Facsimile without permission. W. W. Norton sued, and Applause withdrew the facsimile. In 2001 Applause published another edition of the first folio, this one being in modern
type. It's not specifically a facsimile edition, but it does present the Shakespeare's plays in the order they were presented in the 1623 folio. Though this edition is in modern type the spelling and punctuation of the first folio have been for the most part retained.
In his acknowlegements Freeman thanks his publisher for persisting with such a crazy scheme. Crazy? Perhaps. Audacious? Certainly. You see, Freeman is an actor, not a textual scholar and he rejects the work of textual scholars. For example, he proposes that the punctuation marks of the folio are rhetorical signals. They are the cues for the actors. This controversial proposition has been roundly criticized by many scholars, but Freeman is undaunted. I applaud his audacity. The great value of this edition is that it retains so much of the spelling and punctuation of the 1623 folio. Finally we have an original spelling edition of most of Shakespeare's plays in print.
It is important to note that this is not a complete edition of Shakespeare's writings. The narrative poems, the sonnets, the occasional poems, "Pericles," and "Two Noble Kinsmen" are not included.
It should be stated that this edition does not in every instance reproduce the spelling of the 1623 folio. Freeman's treatment of abbrivations is unsatisfactory. For example it was common practice in the 17th century to represent certain words by a special kind of abbrivation. On page lviii Freeman explains that "y" with an umlaut was usually short hand for "you," "thee," "thou," "thy," "thine," or "yours." The 1623 folio usually spells these abbrivations differently from the way Freeman describes it. The word "thou" could be represented by the letter "y" with the superscript "u" directly on top of it. The word "that" could be written with the letter "y" with the superscript "t" directly over it. The word "the" could be written with the letter "y" with the superscript "e" directly over it and so on. In Freeman's edition all the superscript letters are replaced by umlauts, so there is no way of telling what the superscript letter was, and hence no way of knowing what the word is. So when you come across the line "Thou do'st then wrong me, as (y/with umlaut) slaughterer doth" (page 441, col. 2, line 1) are you supposed to read:
"Thou do'st then wrong me, as thou slaughterer doth," or
"Thou do'st then wrong me, as thee slaughterer doth," or
"Thou do'st then wrong me, as that slaughterer doth"?
You'll have to go to a facsimile edition to find out that that the third line is the correct reading. It is also interesting to note that the word "that" doesn't appear in Freeman's list of what "y with umlaut" could stand for.
The edition should be used with caution.

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