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by World Music Network November 14, 2011


New Rough Guide Albums: Duke Ellington and Edith Piaf

Today marks the release of two new Rough Guide albums: The Rough Guide To Jazz Legends: Duke Ellington and The Rough Guide To Legends: Edith Piaf. Immerse yourself in the phenomenal sounds of two musical giants with these fantastic Rough Guides which lay down the best of the best of America's jazz and France's song.

duke ellingtonThe Rough Guide To Jazz Legends: Duke Ellington

A sublimely skilled composer, performer and bandleader, Duke Ellington’s influence upon the history of American music is second to none. Enjoy this collection of meticulously remastered recordings and experience Duke Ellington’s magnificent musical legacy up close and in depth.

Highlights of the compilation include ‘Caravan’, a well known jazz standard often hailed as the first Latin-Jazz track, ‘Take The A Train’, known by many as Ellington’s signature tune, and the swaying romantic tune with a swooning brass melody, ‘In a Sentimental Mood’. The album features a delightful mix of Ellington’s vintage 1930s style contrasted to the crisper polished style he explored during the 1950s. 

The bonus disc, ‘The Rough Guide To Original Jazz Legends’ is an excellent collection of music from musicians that represent Ellington’s inspiration, his contemporaries and those he has influenced. From Willie ‘The Lion’ Smith to Clark Terry – explore the Ellington legacy in greater context with this excellent selection of remastered music.

edith piafThe Rough Guide To Legends: Edith Piaf

During her colourful life, Edith Piaf or ‘the little sparrow’, transformed herself from a waifish street urchin to an astronomically revered singer and veritable icon of French culture. Enjoy this lovingly remastered selection of some of her most magnificent works.

The album opens with the well-known and much loved tune, ‘La Vie En Rose’. Edith’s signature vibrato vocal soars across swooning strings and piano accompaniment. ‘Padam Padam’ is a swirling sinister sounding ballad. ‘Milord’ tells the story of young poverty stricken girl who develops a crush on an upper-class gentleman. It was perhaps a subject that Edith felt some affinity with, having come from stark poverty herself. The album closes with Edith’s heroic rendition of ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’.  The song has become Edith’s anthem and encapsulates the outstandingly powerful stature of such a remarkable woman – the ‘little sparrow’ who spread her wings wide.

The bonus disc is a collection of songs by artists who were based in or frequented the hot steamy streets of France’s capital city. From the cabaret songs of Josephine Baker to the smooth tenor tones of Charles Aznavour, this collection oozes Parisian chic.