Four Duke features Jay Leonhart on bass (and the occasional scat singing), Gary Burton on vibes, Joe Beck on guitar, and Terry Clark playing drums in a tribute to the great Duke Ellington. All the players are in top form, and the recording sounds as fresh as if it had been recorded yesterday.
This disc demonstrates (as if proof was necessary) that Ellington is one of this country’s greatest songwriters. It is hard for me to pick a favorite tune, but perhaps their version of “Caravan” is one of the most exciting I’ve heard in years. “Azure” and “Satin Doll” had me swaying in my seat at the computer. “In a Mellow Tone” and “Cottontail” had me tapping my toes (I would have been snapping my fingers, but I did have stuff to do). And “Take the A Train,” a duet between Leonhart and Burton, is plain fun to listen to.
If you like good jazz, or if you want something tasty to listen to while you work (not that this is wallpaper music), get Four Duke. But don’t be surprised if you find yourself nodding your head or dancing in your cubicle.