Singled out as "a window into Ellington's working method" by NPR's Kevin Whitehead, this 1970 session in Cologne features the Ellington Orchestra collaborating with Conny Plank (1940–87), a pioneering producer of synthesizer-based rock, ambient music, and free jazz. Showing Duke Ellington's ever-evolving creativity in action, there are three significantly different takes each of two songs: "Alerado" by organist Wild Bill Davis and the catchy, percussive "Afrique."
"Unlike vintage jazz reissues where alternate takes offer only subtle tweaks on the original, these pieces show Ellington making substantial revisions to each performance."—Wall Street Journal
"Afrique" shows how Ellington maintained his identity while changing with the times.... Duke loved playing for dancers and wanted to get young people on the floor as well as their parents. The open form and fluid banter of the horns reflects ways jazz loosened up in the '60s."—Kevin Whitehead, NPR