Awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1966, Duke Ellington called his music "American music" rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as "beyond" category. He remains one of the most influential figures in jazz, if not in all American music and is widely considered one of the 20th century's best composers and band leaders. Ellington's reputation has increased since his death in 1974, with thematic repackagings of his signature music often becoming best sellers. Posthumous recognition of his work include a special award citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board. This 1956 session features Ellington and 14 sidemen performing updated recordings of some of the best from Ellington's career going back to 1926.
Tiger and the Duke is the debut album by the experimental rock band The Sound of Animals Fighting. Four songs from this album were released in demo form on a 2004 EP of the same title. It is a concept album revolving around the title character, Duke, and the Captain who runs the ship they are sailing. The cargo of the ship are crazy animals who howl and fight below the deck. Eventually the Captain's sons start a mutiny in which the Captain jumps off the ship. The album was reissued via Equal Vision Records on June 26, 2007. The reissue features all tracks remixed, with new interludes, and new artwork by Drew Roulette of dredg and Dark Heavens and packaging along with eight remixes from Lover, The Lord Has Left Us… The album peaked at 35 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart.
The widely heralded recordings made of Duke Ellington & His Orchestra during a 1940 concert in Fargo, ND, have been justifiably praised for their historic value as well as for the surprisingly good sound obtained by a pair of young amateur engineers with a portable disc cutter. Both the soloists and Ellington's unique-sounding blend of reeds and brass are very distinct. Some of these tracks previously appeared on the Jazz Society label, followed by a Book-of-the Month Club set, and all of them appeared on the now-defunct Vintage Jazz Classics, but this latest version tops them all for sound quality.