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Lush Life (The George Golla Orchestra)
ABC Jazz is thrilled to announce the re-release of Lush Life: A Tribute to Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn by The George Golla Orchestra, timed to celebrate George’s 85th birthday in May 2020. One of the iconic records in the history of Australian jazz, Lush Life has been unavailable in any format for a number of years.
Lush Life holds a significant place in Australian music history as the winner of Best Jazz Album at the inaugural ARIA Awards in 1987, and features a Who’s Who of performers including John Hoffman on flugelhorn, Craig Scott on bass, Len Barnard on drums, James Morrison on trombone and George himself on guitar, and produced by the great Cleon Dennis.
Lush Life is a tribute to the extraordinary professional and personal relationship between two greats of American jazz – Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Their creative partnership lasted 25 years, and led to an enormous catalogue of works that have become cornerstones of the genre, including ‘Don’t Get Around Much Any More’, ‘Take The A Train’, ‘Mood Indigo’ and ‘It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)’, all of which feature here.
In the original liner notes for the album, George writes, ‘One nice thing about reaching maturity is the knowledge that one has accumulated a vast backlog of experience, both pleasant and otherwise. In the garden marked ‘pleasant’ lies a bed of wonderful music heard and experienced down the years, a great proportion of which was created by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, two long-term collaborators of magical ability in the idioms of jazz. When long-time friend and producer Cleon Dennis suggested I record some of their best tunes, I was naturally overjoyed as I’d spend years playing much of the material in various settings. I felt comfortable and sure that I could do justice to the spirit (as much as I perceived of it) of the Duke and Billy. They were men who lived their full lives in urban society, sophisticated yet warm, full of humour and wit. Their music is a perfect vehicle for the gentle side of jazz.’
We hope you enjoy getting to know this gorgeous record all over again.