It is 1969, and the great pianist/composer Duke Ellington was on one of his many arduous European tours. However for the first time we are afforded a snapshot of one of his most intimate club performances ever recorded. The place is Cabaret L'Alcazar in Paris, France, and Ellington and his "instrument", the Famous Orchestra are in rare form, bringing forth a funky, soulful energy sparked of course by his assistant arranger at the time, Hammond Organ pioneer Wild Bill Davis. The great Johnny Hodges, still within a year of his life's ending, is playing excellently still, showing no signs of slowing down here.
The famous celebrity Maurice Chevalier was in the house, even gifting the Duke one of his famous hats. It's a party atmosphere entirely but the music is as consistent and swinging as ever. Luminaries such as Hodges, Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Harry Carney, Paul Gonsalves, and Lawrence Brown are all cooking here. This is truly a night to remember, and needs to be heard by Ellington aficionados and music lovers alike.