I'm a member of a jazz listening club called "Jazz Salon." Sunday, March 1 was Duke Ellington day. Duke was born in April, 1899, died in March, 1974, and was, in my none too humble opinion, America's greatest composer.
Here's the playlist from our Jazz Salon for March 1:
Jungle Music and Cotton Club
Creole Love Call (1927) from a 78 RPM I found on the internets. Adelaide Hall on vocal and Bubber Miley on growling trumpet.
The Mooche (1928)
Black and Tan Fantasy (1928) . This and the Mooche both feature Miley, the voice of the Ellington band in the 1920's. Available on Black and Tan Fantasy.
East St. Louis Toodaloo (1927). Available on The Best of Duke Ellington.
It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing (1931). Available on Duke Ellington -- Jazz Moods Hot.
Rockin' In Rhythm (1931). Available on Duke Ellington -- Jazz Moods Hot.
Daybreak Express (1933) Available on the LP, Daybreak Express
Blanton - Webster Band
Cotton Tail (1940), Available on The Blanton Webster Band
Jack the Bear (1940) Available on The Blanton Webster Band
A Tone Parallel to Harlem, followed by Perdido, available on Ellington Uptown (1951)
The Return of Johnny Hodges
Jeep's Blues (1956) Ellington Band at Newport
Hawkins / Ellington, Mood Indigo (1962) from Duke Ellington Meets Coleman Hawkins.
Ellington / Mingus / Roach, Money Jungle (1962) from Money Jungle.
Closin' It Out
Basie / Ellington -- Take the A Train (1962) , from The Count Meets the Duke
Ellington had over 600 musicians from the mid-1910's to the time of his death. I've compiles a spreadsheet with the most important ones. You can right-click here , and select "save target as." The spread sheet can be sorted by time, name and instrument.
Here's a slide show of terrific Duke photos from a variety of sources.
Here's a list of songs either that we didn't get to, or that didn't make it to the play list but should have, if only we had all day:
Merry-Go-Round (1935) Available on Reminiscing in Tempo
Lush Life, sung by Billy Strayhorn, on Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life, recorded 1965 (Strayhorn couldn't sing, but it's nonetheless very poignant)
Such Sweet Thunder (1957) Available on Such Sweet Thunder Newport Up (1959) From Live at the Blue Note. Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool (1959) Ray Nance and Shorty Baker.
Such Sweet Thunder (1957) Available on Such Sweet Thunder
Newport Up (1959) From Live at the Blue Note.
Mr. Gentle and Mr. Cool (1959) Ray Nance and Shorty Baker.
Duke Ellington and John Coltrane, recorded 1962
I Can't Get Started, Duke Ellington, Piano In The Foreground, trio with Sam Woodyard and Aaron Bell / Jimmy Woode, recorded 1961
Prelude to a Kiss, lots of versions, but on Duke Ellington, Piano Reflections, recorded 1953
In a Sentimental Mood and Passion Flower, from the same recording date, and the latter from ...and His Mother Called Him Bill (1967)
Diminuendo in Blue and Crescendo in Blue (1956) Ellington Band at Newport
Isfahan (1966) from Far East Suite
Blues for New Orleans (1970) from New Orleans Suite.
Come Sunday (1958) Mahalia Jackson a capella, from Black, Brown & Beige
Just about everything from ...and His Mother Called Him Bill, but particularly J. Hodges, playing Blood Count.
Here's a list of music by others with a strong Ellington influence:
Don Byron, Bug Music
Mingus at Monterey
Caravan, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers
Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, Port Chicago
Art Ensemble of Chicago, Creole Love Song, from Ancient to the Future. I really miss Lester Bowie.
Eileen Feather, Imaginary Guy, from Such Sweet Thunder
Duke wrote the score for the movie Anatomy of a Murder. Here's a clip from the film with Duke and the orchestra playing:
Here's the Ellington Orchestra, featuring Harry Carney and Juan Tizol, among others, playing Mood Indigo from what appears to be the late 1930's.
And finally, here's something I'd never seen before -- a tribute to Billy Strayhorn, including Duke's comments on his death in 1967 and some excerpts from Ray Nance playing violin at his funeral.
To get ready for this Jazz Salon, I read Beyond Category, The Life And Genius of Duke Ellington, by John Edward Hasse, which is a fast, good read. And finally, here's the official Duke Ellington web site, with tons of useful information and a here's a very good discography. This man cut hundreds of records, and nobody will ever list them all, but this is a pretty good start.