It’s rare that lost recordings are this tantalising or this unexpected. A combination of jazz legend Duke Ellington and German producer Conny Plank. Plank, you may be aware was an engineer and producer working with the likes of Guru Guru, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Neu! Eurythmics, Ultravox, D.A.F as well as collaborating with Dieter Moebius on five Moebius & Plank studio albums recorded between 1979 and 1986. These lost recordings were the sound of Ellington experimenting in Cologne in 1970, whilst on a European tour.
It was one session, two songs: three takes each of “Alerado” and “Afrique.” This from the label:
“They weren’t just alternate takes, like you often get on reissues of jazz classics; you can really hear Ellington working. He’s not just looking for the best take to get something clearly defined, he’s experimenting. The tempi change, solo instruments are switched around, and, on the last take of “Afrique,” you can even hear soprano vocals.”
Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: The Conny Plank Sessions is out now on Grönland Records.