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Duke Ellington Small Band
  • Artist: Barrie Lee Hall, Jr.
  • Label: CD Baby
  • UPC: 753725003923
  • Item #: 204414X
  • Genre: Jazz
  • Release Date: 11/21/2006
  • This product is a special order
Price: $18.69
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Duke Ellington Small Band on CD

Life is full of mysteries, of course - some small, some large. At least a small one is why on earth this is Barrie Lee Hall's first album-as-leader. The aphorism "better late than never" certainly applies in this instance. Sincere thanks to producer (and Barrie's fellow-Ellingtonian) Shelley Carrol for rendering this particular mystery moot. Barrie Lee Hall, Jr., was born in Mansfield, Louisiana, on June 30, 1949. He later relocated to Houston, where he attended E. E. Worthing High School. Barrie credits Worthing band director Sammy Harris with first awakening his interest in jazz. He next enrolled in the landmark jazz program at Houston's Texas Southern University (which spawned The Crusaders, Kirk Whalum, and many others), where he enjoyed the tutelage of T. S. U.'s legendary jazz instructor, the late Lanny Steele. It was during his T. S. U. days that I first discovered Barrie Lee Hall, and I remain an enthusiastic fan to this day. Houston's all-time jazz patriarch, Arnett Cobb, arranged for Barrie's first personal introduction to Duke Ellington at Houston's Shamrock Hotel in 1973. A few days later, after a literal middle-of-the-night phone call from Duke to Barrie's home, Hall permanently joined the Duke Ellington Orchestra, his inaugural gig being at the Shamrock on June 8, 1973. The rest is indeed history, as Hall became a prominent part of the Ellington organization, not only as trumpeter/flugelhornist, but as arranger, composer, co-producer, interim director, etc. He was a trusted member of Duke's inner circle, and subsequently worked very closely with Mercer (son) and Paul (grandson) in various incarnations of the Orchestra. It is thus entirely appropriate that virtually all of the splendid accompanying musicians on this recording are members of the current Duke Ellington Orchestra. If I had to choose one word to summarize Barrie Lee Hall it would be "elegance" (appropriate for an Ellington protégé, correct?!): Elegance in all matters musical Elegance in deportment Elegance in appearance Elegance in family matters (Uncle Soonie is named for a favorite uncle who basically raised Barrie) Elegance even in hobbies - I wish the reader could see some of Barrie's custom pens/ pencils that he designs/fabricates during his spare time, using the finest woods available. I guarantee that the listener will have an equally elegant experience when savoring this CD. Enjoy! Dr. Robert Morgan Director of Jazz Studies Emeritus High School for Performing and Visual Arts Houston, Texas.

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