“Jazz is many things to many people. To me, it has been a banner under which I have written and played most of life, almost all the way around the world.” – Duke Ellington, Music Is My Mistress
This blog, Ellington Reflections, is the accompaniment to my bi-weekly podcast of the same name. The Ellington Reflections podcast is available for FREE on iTunes and Stitcher. Join me as I highlight different facets of the long and distinguished career of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (1899-1974). We’ll do this through his compositions, arrangements and recordings. We’ll also dive into the contributions of his sideman and other artists. There will no shortage of places to go!
Referenced in the first episode:
Transcription and analysis of Duke Ellington’s solo on The Clothed Woman, by Los Angeles based pianist Scott Healy.
Recordings heard during this podcast episode:
Take the “A” Train (CD: “Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 1941: The Complete Standard Transcriptions,” Soundies SCD4107)
Recorded 15 January 1941, Los Angeles
Wallace Jones, Ray Nance –trumpets; Rex Stewart – cornet; Lawrence Brown, Juan Tizol, Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton – trombones; Otto Hardwicke, Johnny Hodges, Ben Webster, Barney Bigard, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Jimmie Blanton – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.
Portrait of Bert Williams (CD: “The Webster Blanton Band,” Bluebird 74321131812)
Recorded 28 May, 1940 Chicago
Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpets; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombones; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Ben Webster, Harry Carney -reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Jimmie Blanton – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.
The Clothed Woman (CD: “The Complete Duke Ellington, Vol. 2 (1947-1952),” Sony Music Distribution COL4629862)
Recorded 27 December, 1947 New York City
Al Killian, Harold Baker – trumpets; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Johnny Hodges, Al Sears, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Junior Raglin – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.
(I’m Just Wild About) Animal Crackers (CD: 1924-1926: Birth of a Band, Vol. 1 EPM #HS151042)
Recorded 21 June, 1926 New York City
Bubber Miley, Charlie Johnson – trumpets; Joe Nanton – trombone; Harvey Boone, Prince Robinson, Otto Hardwicke – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – banjo; Mack Shaw – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.
Thanks for the Beautiful Land on the Delta (CD: “New Orleans Suite,” Warner Bros. 7411644)
Recorded 27 April, 1970 New York City
Cootie Williams, Al Rubin, Mercer Ellington, Fred Stone – trumpets; Booty Wood, Julian Priester, Malcolm Taylor – trombones; Russell Procope, Norris Turney, Johnny Hodges, Harold Ashby, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Joe Benjamin – bass; Rufus Jones – drums.
Thanks for the Beautiful Land on the Delta (CD: “Never Before Released Recordings (1965-1972),” Music Masters 5041-2-C)
Recorded 23 July, 1970 Milan
Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Fred Stone, Nelson Williams – trumpets; Booty Wood, Chuck Connors, Malcolm Taylor – trombones; Russell Procope, Norris Turney, Harold Ashby, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Joe Benjamin – bass; Rufus Jones – drums.
Thanks for the Beautiful Land on the Delta (Stefon Harris, “African Tarantella: Dances with Duke” – Blue Note 41090)
Personnel: Stefon Harris – vibraphone, marimba; Xavier Davis – piano; Derrick Hodge – bass; Terreon Gully – drums; Anne Drummond – flute; Greg Tardy – clarinet; Steve Turre – trombone; Junah Chung – viola; Louise Dubin – cello.
It’s Something You Ought To Know (Paul Gonsalves – “Ellingtonia Moods and Blues,” RCA Victor / RCA 63562)
Recorded 29 February 1960 in New York City
Paul Gonsalves- tenor sax; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ray Nance – cornet; Mitchell “Booty” Wood – trombone; Jimmy Jones – piano; Al Hall – bass; Oliver Jackson – drums.
I just discovered this blog and podcast. I am very excited to read/listen to it. For more than a decade I have been very interested in Ellington. I’ve read several books and acquired scores of cds. I’m in love with his music. I’m especially interested in the longer pieces and suites. One frustration I have is the lack of likeminded Ellington fans to talk to. Maybe that will change and in the meantime I will enjoy your blog and podcast. Btw I’m currently reading “Duke Ellington’s America,” an excellent bio with revealing social context.
Thanks, Jeff! Welcome aboard! If you’re on Facebook, there’s a page I’d like to recommend. It’s called “The Duke Ellington Society” and you’ll find lots of like-minded fans there…