It’s so Nice.
Here’s a group of musicians you would only see at a festival, playing “the music of Duke Ellington”: Illinois Jacquet, tenor saxophone; Barney Bigard, clarinet; Vic Dickenson, trombone; Ruby Braff, cornet; Jimmie Rowles, piano; Slam Stewart, string bass; Shelly Manne, drums. Take a moment to let those names sink in.
Sometimes these groups don’t coalesce: they are the musical equivalent of a soup made with the contents of the refrigerator, and even in this case the closing “Ellington composition” might seem like the lowest common denominator, but it works wonderfully — thanks to the experience of the soloists and the splendid rhythm section. And if you look closely, you will see Vic Dickenson mutely ask to be left alone while he’s soloing — he didn’t like horn backgrounds — but he’s eloquent even when annoyed. Any chance to see Jimmie Rowles at the piano is exquisite, and I feel the same way about watching Ruby and Vic together.
The two selections — the end of a longer set which, alas, I don’t have on video — are ALL TOO SOON (Jacquet and rhythm) / C JAM BLUES (ensemble). They were performed at the “Grande Parade du Jazz,” July 7, 1979, and broadcast on French television.
May your happiness increase!