A Portrait of Duke Ellington

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
A Portrait of Duke Ellington
A Portrait of Duke Ellington.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedApril 27 & 28, 1960
New York City
MG V-8386
Dizzy Gillespie chronology
Have Trumpet, Will Excite!
A Portrait of Duke Ellington

A Portrait of Duke Ellington is an album featuring trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and orchestra performing compositions associated with Duke Ellington, recorded in 1960 and released on the Verve label.[1] All of the orchestral arrangements were provided by then Hi-Lo's accompanist – and sometimes arranger – Clare Fischer, hired on the basis of a previously recorded but unreleased album with strings, arranged by Fischer for erstwhile University of Michigan classmate Donald Byrd. Byrd played the tape for Gillespie; Gillespie liked what he heard. Unfortunately for Fischer, especially in light of the critical accolades given the eventual fruit of his, and Gillespie's, labor, Fischer's name was nowhere to be found on the finished LP;[2] widespread awareness of his participation would have to await the CD reissue almost 2½ decades later.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4.5/5 stars[4]
Billboard5/5 stars[5]
Stereo Reviewfavorable[6]
The Washington Postfavorable[7]

The Allmusic review awarded the album 4.5 stars.[4] The album's original LP release received 5 stars from Billboard, though, owing to Verve's aforementioned oversight, Fischer's contribution went unnoticed.[5] In fact, it was only through the efforts of one intrepid and musically attuned reviewer, The Washington Post's Tony Gieske, that this, as well as two of Fischer's other groundbreaking efforts in this period, were acknowledged and documented.[a] Regarding the Gillespie LP, Gieske noted:

And on A Portrait of Duke Ellington (Verve MG V 8386), that depth and skill, stimulated by a change in the strale Gillespie repertoire and compemented by rich, radically imaginative arrangements by, I am told, Clare Fischer, result in a really classic album. Fischer, a young conservatory graduate, is a new name to be reckoned with.[7]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Duke Ellington except as indicated

  1. "In a Mellow Tone" - 3:47
  2. "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" (Mercer Ellington) - 4:54
  3. "Serenade to Sweden" - 4:24
  4. "Chelsea Bridge" (Billy Strayhorn) - 2:36
  5. "Upper Manhattan Medical Group" (Strayhorn) - 3:06
  6. "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me" - 2:40
  7. "Caravan" (Juan Tizol, Ellington) - 5:23
  8. "Sophisticated Lady" - 3:21
  9. "Johnny Come Lately" - 3:38
  10. "Perdido" (Tizol) - 4:51
  11. "Come Sunday" - 2:58



  1. ^ Gieske also wrote tellingly regarding one and a half orchestral LPs arranged by Fischer for Cal Tjader, West Side Story and Cal Tjader Plays Harold Arlen.


  1. ^ Dizzy Gillespie discography accessed March 22, 2012
  2. ^ Jolley, Craig. "Meet Clare Fischer". All About Jazz. 1999. Archived 2010-10-28. Retrieved 20123-02-23.
  3. ^ "A Portrait of Duke Ellington". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-02-23.
  4. ^ a b Allmusic Review accessed April 4, 2012
  5. ^ a b "Spotlight Winners of the Week: Strongest sales potential of all albums reviewed this week". Billboard. November 21, 1960. Accessed February 18, 2013.
  6. ^ Welding, Pete. [https://books.google.com/books?id=R31UAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA4-PA85 "DIZZY GILLESPIE ORCHESTRA: A Portrait of Duke Ellington". Stereo Review. February 1961. Retrieved 2017-05-01.
  7. ^ a b Gieske, Tony. "Accent on Jazz: Trumpet Men Do Keep Blowing". The Washington Post. January 22, 1961. Retrieved 2013-02-23.