Duke Ellington – Money Jungle (1962)

Money Jungle is a jazz album by Duke Ellington with Charles Mingus and Max Roach recorded on September 17, 1962 and released in February 1963 by United Artists Jazz. At the original issue Money Jungle was track number 1 out of 7 tracks. In 1987 Money Jungle was reissued with 13 tracks on Blue Note.

Duke Ellington surprised the jazz world in 1962 with his historic trio session featuring Charles Mingus and Max Roach. Not in a mood to simply rework older compositions, the bulk of the LP focused on music he wrote specifically for the session. “Money Jungle” is a thunderous opener, a blues that might be classified somewhere between post-bop and avant-garde. The gem of the date is the fragile, somewhat haunting ballad “Fleurette Africaine,” where Mingus’ floating bassline and Roach’s understated drumming add to the mystique of an Ellington work that has slowly been gathering steam among jazz musicians as a piece worth exploring more often. “Very Special” is a jaunty upbeat blues, while the angular, descending line of “Wig Wise” also proves to be quite catchy. Ellington also revisits “Warm Valley” (a lovely ballad indelibly associated with Johnny Hodges) and an almost meditative “Solitude.” Thunderous percussion and wild basslines complement a wilder-than-usual approach to “Caravan.” Every jazz fan should own a copy of this sensational recording session. [source]

Duke Ellington – Piano
Charles Mingus – Double Bass
Max Roach – Drums

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