Piano in the Foreground

Piano in the Foreground is an album by American pianist, composer and bandleader Duke Ellington recorded and released on the Columbia label in 1961.[1] It features Ellington in a piano trio setting, emphasising his own keyboard prowess rather than the big band arrangements more typical of his recordings.

Piano in the Foreground
Studio album by
RecordedMarch 1 & 2, 1961
Duke Ellington chronology
Piano in the Background
Piano in the Foreground
The Great Summit


The Allmusic review by Scott Yanow awarded the album 4 stars and stated "This rare trio session by Duke Ellington was the first of several in the early '60s that featured his piano in a variety of settings. It is particularly interesting hearing Ellington, along with three standards and a blues, performing some of his rarer compositions... One wishes that today's revivalists when playing "the Duke Ellington Songbook" would bring back some of his true obscurities such as the ones on this somewhat forgotten session".[2]

Professional ratings
Review scores

Track listing

:All compositions by Duke Ellington except as indicated

  1. "I Can't Get Started" (Vernon Duke, Ira Gershwin) - 4:23
  2. "Cong-Go" (Aaron Bell, Ellington) - 4:16
  3. "Body and Soul" (Edward Heyman, Robert Sour, Frank Eyton, Johnny Green) - 4:49
  4. "Blues for Jerry" - 4:38
  5. "Fontainebleau Forest" - 2:53
  6. "Summertime" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin, Dubose Heyward) - 3:52
  7. "It's Bad to Be Forgotten" - 3:22
  8. "A Hundred Dreams Ago" - 2:26
  9. "So" - 4:33
  10. "Searching (Pleading for Love)" - 1:49
  11. "Springtime in Africa" (Bell, Ellington) - 3:46
  12. "Lotus Blossom" (Billy Strayhorn) - 3:18
  13. "All the Things You Are" (Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern) - 4:00 Bonus track on CD reissue
  14. "All the Things You Are" [alternate take] (Hammerstein, Kern) - 3:51 Bonus track on CD reissue
  15. "Piano Improvisation No. 2" - 3:25 Bonus track on CD reissue
  16. "Piano Improvisation No. 3" - 2:48 Bonus track on CD reissue
  17. "Piano Improvisation No. 4" - 1:53 Bonus track on CD reissue
  18. "Piano Improvisation No. 1" - 9:45 Bonus track on CD reissue
  • Recorded:
at Columbia Records 30th Street Studio on March 20, 1957 (tracks 15-18) (stereo)
at Columbia Records 30th Street Studio on October 10, 1957 (tracks 13-14) (monaural)
at Radio Recorders, Los Angeles on March 1, 1961 (tracks 1-11) & March 2, 1961 (track 12) (stereo)



  1. A Duke Ellington Panorama accessed May 14, 2010
  2. Yanow, S. Allmusic Review accessed May 14, 2010
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