Such Sweet Thunder

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Such Sweet Thunder
Duke Ellington - Such Sweet Thunder.jpg
Studio album by Duke Ellington and his Orchestra
Released April 1957 or May 1957
Recorded August 7, 1956 – May 3, 1957
Genre Jazz
Length 76:25
Label Columbia/Legacy
Producer Irving Townsend - Original Recording
Phil Schaap - Reissue
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra chronology
Studio Sessions, Chicago 1956
(1956-57)Studio Sessions, Chicago 1956String Module Error: Match not found
Such Sweet Thunder
All Star Road Band
(1957)All Star Road Band1957
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide 5/5 stars[2]

Such Sweet Thunder is a Duke Ellington album, released in 1957. The record is a twelve part suite based on the work of William Shakespeare.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Such Sweet Thunder" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 3:22
  2. "Sonnet for Caesar" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 3:00
  3. "Sonnet to Hank Cinq" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 1:24
  4. "Lady Mac" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 3:41
  5. "Sonnet in Search of a Moor" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 2:22
  6. "The Telecasters" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 3:05
  7. "Up and Down, Up and Down (I Will Lead Them Up and Down)" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 3:09
  8. "Sonnet for Sister Kate" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 2:24
  9. "The Star-Crossed Lovers" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 4:00
  10. "Madness in Great Ones" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 3:26
  11. "Half the Fun" (Also known as "Lately") (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 4:19
  12. "Circle of Fourths" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 1:45

Bonus tracks[edit]

  1. "The Star-Crossed Lovers" (Also known as "Pretty Girl") (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 4:15
  2. "Circle of Fourths" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 1:47
  3. "Suburban Beauty" (Ellington) - 2:56
  4. "A-Flat Minor" (Ellington) - 2:33
  5. "Café au Lait" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 2:49
  6. "Half the Fun" (Alternate take) (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 4:08
  7. "Suburban Beauty" (Alternate take) (Ellington) - 2:56
  8. "A-Flat Minor" (Outtake) (Ellington) - 3:49
  9. "Café au Lait" (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 6:21
  10. "Pretty Girl" (Also known as the "Star-Crossed Lovers") (Outtake) (Ellington, Strayhorn) - 8:54

Production/reissue credits[edit]



Critical reception[edit]

NPR has included this album on their Basic Jazz Record Library.[3] The Penguin Guide to Jazz gave the album 4 stars (out of a possible 4.) Allmusic gave the album 4.5 out of 5 stars.


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Swenson, J. (Editor) (1985). The Rolling Stone Jazz Record Guide. USA: Random House/Rolling Stone. p. 69. ISBN 0-394-72643-X. 
  3. ^

Bibliography (further reading)[edit]

Contemporary reviews and journalism[edit]

  • “Ellington Suite to Bow April 28” New York Times. 15 April 1957.
  • Parmenter, Ross. “Music: Weill and the Duke.” New York Times 29 April 1957.
  • “New Ellington Suite Hailed By Coast-to-Coast Audience.” Daily Defender. 2 July 1957.
  • Wilson, John S. “Duke Bounces Back With Provocative Work.” New York Times. 13 Oct. 1957. esp 113
  • Wilson, John S. “Jazz: Ellington.” New York Times 13 October 1957.

Historical and analytical writings (in reverse chronological order)[edit]

  • Bradbury, David. Duke Ellington. London: Haus, 2005. Esp. pp. 91.
  • Lanier, Douglas. “To Be-Bop or Not to Be-Bop; Minstrelsy, Jazz, Rap: Shakespeare, African American Music, and Cultural Legitimation.” Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation Vol. 1, 2005 [no pagination].
  • Buhler, Stephen M. “Form and Character in Duke Ellington’s and Billy Strayhorn’s Such Sweet Thunder.” Borrowers and Lenders: The Journal of Shakespeare and Appropriation Vol. 1, 2005 [no pagination].
  • Nicholson, Stuart. Reminiscing in Tempo: A Portrait of Duke Ellington. Northeastern University Press, 1999, esp. pp. ???-???.
  • Lambert, Eddie. Duke Ellington: A Listener’s Guide. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1999. Esp. pp. 193–194.
  • Kernfeld, Barry. New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. St. Martin’s Press, 1994. esp 331
  • Hasse, John Edward. Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.
  • Tucker, Mark. The Duke Ellington Reader. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993. Esp. pp. 321, 441. esp. pp. 339–341, 393
    • Harrison, Max. “Max Harrison: Some Reflections on Ellington’s Longer Works. The Duke Ellington Reader. Tucker, Mark, ed. (esp. pg.393).
    • Crouch, Stanley. “Stanley Crouch on Such Sweet Thunder, Suite Thursday, and Anatomy of a Murder.” The Duke Ellington Reader. Tucker, Mark, ed. (esp. 339, 441).
  • Hasse, John. Beyond Category: The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1993. Esp. pp. 331–333, 362.
  • Timmer, W.E. Ellingtonia: The recorded music of Duke Ellington and his sidemen. Metuchen, N.J.: Institute of Jazz Studies: Scarecrow Press, 1988. Esp. pp. 450.
  • Marsalis, Wynton. “What Jazz is and Isn’t.” New York Times. 31, July 1988.
  • Ellington, Mercer. Duke Ellington in Person: An Intimate Memoir. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1978. Esp. pp. 117.
  • Ellington, Duke. Music is My Mistress. New York: Da Capo Press, 1976, c1973. Esp. pp. 192.