Duke Ellington – Yale Concert (and its dubbed in audience)

There is some interesting mic placement going on with this recording. Some of the instruments seem to be off-mic, creating an unusual effect that has its charms.

Only one song was actually recorded live, Boola Boola. The rest of the material was taped in the studio and an audience dubbed in.

Why the had trouble with the mics in the studio is beyond me.

What the best sides have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes back in the day
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments of big band having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
  • No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above


Side One

The Little Purple Flower (Parts I And II)
A Chromatic Love Affair 
Boola, Boola

Side Two

A Johnny Hodges Medley
Warm Valley 
Swamp Goo
Take The A-Train 

AMG Review

The great Duke Ellington Orchestra was still intact and in its late prime at the time of this performance from 1968. With the death of Billy Strayhorn the year before, Ellington (perhaps sensing his own mortality) accelerated his writing activities, proving that even as he neared 70, he was still at his peak.