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Reviews: Duke Ellington: Blues in Orbit

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Reviews: 7

Review by Tom February 21, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This was the only Mobile Fidelity SACD prior to going out of business around 2000. The performance and sonics of this SACD are outstanding. The shortcomings are that playing time is just a little over 30 minutes, and only 5000 copies were printed. This SACD is very difficult to find. In 2002 Mobile Fidelity came back to life, but state that it will not reprint original MF releases. I've seen this SACD sell for over $125 on ebay.

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Review by JW April 7, 2003 (1 of 1 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This album was recorded in one night, directly after a tour in 1959. The story goes that the sheet music for these tracks was not available for some reason necessitating much improvisation that night. The music flows and flows and flows on this album. Ellington's piano is accompanied by trombone, sax, various reeds, violin, trumpet and naturally bass. The muted trombone on "Sweet And Pungent" is a sound for sore ears :-) - absolutely wonderful and on SACD the midrange is an audiophile's delight.

There is blues, slow blues, swing, jazz standards and jamming. Try and get this on Mofi if you can, but otherwise just buy the CD or LP.

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Review by JMCIII1 November 8, 2006 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
One of the first (and, from the original Mobile Fidelity only and last) hybrid SACD's to come to market. And you know what? It's still one of the best sounding. it's biggest drawback - besides the short playing time - is the left/right feel to the band. Ellington is center stage, but he doesn't play that much himself. But the depth is superb, and the instruments sound spot on tonally. Sure it's going to be expensive to find, as you have to look to the used market, but it'll be money well spent - especially if you, like me, are an Ellington Band fan.

John Crossett

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Review by analogue February 20, 2009 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
It botherred me for the longest while.I just had to hear what all the fuss was about. I broke down and spent 100 dollars on Ebay for this sacd. I got really lucky. Some vendors had it for 500. I love Duke Ellington so I just had to have it. I just kept hearing stories of how good it sounded and I have a great respect for the work that Mobile Fidelity does. Everyone it seemed couldn't say enough nice things about this album and it;s sacd counterpart.I had to hear for myself how Duke and his big band with all their talent from late 1958 sounded.

I was not let down in any regard. In fact this is one of my top sounding sacd's. Even my friend said the horns were unbelievably realistic sounding. What is the real bonus aside from the magnificent sacd transfer is the musicianship. A person cannot possibly sit still listening to this. The music literally reaches out of the speakers and shakes you up. It grooves and makes you move.
This sacd is a keeper and reaches the highest pinnacles of transfer quality. It's fifty years old and sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. But hey.....we don;t have musicians and music like that today do we??

Duke Ellington is a giant in the jazz world and it's easy to see why.

Yes I know with the terrible economy and it's depressing uncertainty it might seem excessive to spend 100 bucks on a single piece of music. But I could never regret it. This album brightens my life. It's that good. And that my friend is worth a hundred bucks.

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Review by montejay May 14, 2011
Performance:   Sonics:
The first time I experienced this album was a few years ago on an outstanding system, with an all out analog front end. It was something that I never forgot. I own a nice original redbook but have never been able to capture the magic of the first time I heard it.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to purchase this SACD in average condition for a bargain price.I popped it in and sat back to listen. I felt a lot of the emotions I remembered from the vinyl. This is one superb sacd that will be in heavy rotation for some time to come.
Musically it is wonderful,with top notch musicians only Ellington would surround himself with.Like a time machine,you are transported back to 1959. If you rig excels on bringing the recording into your room you are in for one hell of a treat.It really blends Big band jazz and blues in a seamless way.
Sonically,I do not believe I have heard any big band sound any more alive then this on my system.I have some excellent Ellington redbook recordings including some XRCDs to compare the sound to.The intruments are all placed out and sorted in a natural soundstage,and in a logical consistant manner throughout the recording. When an instrument is introduced, it is done so with a natural authority that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Of course YMMV.
Due to the ever escalating price however, I will only conditionally recommend. If price is no object, then seek a copy out.Like a fine wine or object of art, this one will only be enjoyed by the few.

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Review by collinmaillard January 2, 2012 (2 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
As any jazz lover, I knew the album.

Or, at least I thought I knew it. I' really discovering NOW.

I recently purchased a very decent amp and amazing loudspeakers. This site helped tracking state-of-the-art SACD to take the most of my installation.

This recording is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS in any respect. It's more than magic, it's like a time machine.
You are physically transported back to the past and surrounded by those geniuses. You can almost hear them breathing, hear their fingers on the instruments ....

The sonics are simply outstanding. Never heard anything like that before. The among of tape hiss is acceptable too.

Any instrument sounds so real, such a real texture. It sounds like recorded yesterday with the best equipment possible ... It's 40+ years old ...

C JAM BLUEs is a killer. I could chain-listen to it. The violin part is so brilliantly rendered, the horns are so natural. The drums so crisps and tight, even snaps are good (though

Moreover, in terms of spatialization, this SACD should be carefully listened to by those "engineers" who tend to lack talent in their attempt to transfer masterpieces .

I can just strongly recommend to track it wherever you can. It may cost you a vital organ to afford it, do it, provided you don't sell your ears for obvious reasons ;-)

I own a lot of jazz and classical music SACDs, this one is my very favorite one, my desert island SACD, the one I would use as the final touch to a convincing demo !

I would like to thank Duke & Co, MoFi and the crazy owner of this most rare SACD (2500 copies out there only) who sold it to me !

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Review by pvcmusiclover April 11, 2012
Performance:   Sonics:

That's about all I can say. If you ever wanted something that demonstrated tonal accuracy and depth of sound stage, this is it! The tape is a bit hissy, but the depth of soundtage is outstanding, dynamics are good and there's a near perfect amount of "old tube sound" to it. The performance is outstanding to boot.

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