Ellington spent a lot of time in Europe in 1963, both in the early Spring and in the summer. It is well-documented both by CDs and on tapes circulating among collectors. In November, the website added to this by making available to DESS-members both the Indigo telecast with Ellington and Alice Babs and the alternative takes from Duke’s recording session for Reprise with Babs in Paris.
After having started the European tour in United Kingdom, Ellington and band went to Paris for a recording session and three concerts at Olympia in Paris on February 1 and 2. At the end of the tour, he was back in Paris for, among other things, another two concerts at Olympia on February 23. The “Great Paris Concert” album originally issued on Atlantic extracted from concerts on the three dates.
The French Ellington society – Maison de Duke – has added to this by issuing a CD with selections from both the concerts on February 23. It includes 6 tracks from the first concert and 7 from the second and most of them are true highlights.. Some of them are alternative takes to those available on “Great Paris Concert” like “”A Tone Parallell to Harlem” and “New Concerto for Cootie”.
The CD comes with a booklet written by Claude Carrière, which is thorough and enlightening in his usual detailed style. And with CD, the liner notes are available in English as well.