Here’s a quarter-hour of Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra. I post it here not only because it’s probably a rarity to most listeners, but because it also showed why Duke entertained so many audiences so well for so long: a perceptive variety of music and approaches, from screaming trumpet to sweet dance music with female and male vocalists, from rockin’ in rhythm for the jitterbugs to topical comedy appropriate to the war effort. Something for everyone and then some.
DUKE ELLINGTON (Coca-Cola Spotlight Parade of Bands #372, Buffalo, New York): BLUE SKIES / I WONDER WHY (Betty Roche) / ROCKIN’ IN RHYTHM / DO NOTHIN’ TILL YOU HEAR FROM ME (Hibbler) / A SLIP OF THE LIP (Nance) // This is not the complete broadcast, but only one track — SLIP — has been issued commercially.
Tom Lord’s discography lists this as an NBC Blue Network broadcast, Trico Products Factory, Buffalo, N.Y., November 27, 1943. Rex Stewart, cornet; Wallace Jones, Harold “Shorty” Baker, trumpet; Ray Nance, trumpet, violin, vocal; Joe Nanton, Lawrence Brown, trombone; Juan Tizol, valve-trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet, tenor saxophone; Johnny Hodges, alto saxophone; Otto Hardwick, alto saxophone, clarinet; Skippy Williams, tenor saxophone, clarinet; Harry Carney baritone saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Duke Ellington, piano; Fred Guy, guitar; Junior Raglin, string bass; Sonny Greer, drums; Betty Roche, Al Hibbler, vocal.
And for some historical trivia: Trico made windshield wipers and closed in 2002 after 85 years of operation. Ellington’s music, happily, continues to operate on us.
This post is for my fellow Ellingtonian Nick Rossi.
May your happiness increase!