Archives for posts with tag: Duke Ellington

A couple of weeks ago I was listening to a favourite album, and had the thought that it was a perfect enough album that it would be one I’d take to a desert island. And thinking on the very long-running (80 years!) BBC program Desert Island Discs, I considered what my other seven would be. And my thoughts took me further – most of my friends are music mavens and would have though on this concept as well. So in the new year, I’ll be interviewing my friends as to what music would see them through if they were the last person on Earth and there were only eight records to listen to.

I came to most of these albums in my 20s, that period after the teenage enthusiasms have been sloughed off. While I still love the music I cut my teeth on, the albums associated with that first period of coming into my own seem more timeless.

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So what was that perfect album? Premiers Symptômes by Air (1997), a compilation of songs from their first three singles. I first picked it up in 1998 or so, when everyone, it seemed, was going crazy for Air’s first full-length, Moon Safari. I preferred the slightly weirder, rawer earlier singles (though, to be fair, Moon Safari is a well-nigh perfect album as well). On these songs, the combination of Fender Rhodes, Moog, and euphonium bring me a strange feeling of nostalgia (for a period and place I never experienced) and are also perfectly of their own moment mid-90s moment.
Favourite track: J’ai dormi sous l’eau (YouTube link).

Duke Ellington and John Coltrane (1963) – When my friend Steve introduced me to this album in about 1996, I’d known of Ellington because of Stevie Wonder’s Sir Duke and had some idea of his importance in jazz, but I hadn’t yet delved. And I knew Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (an album that after more than 30 years of listening, I still can’t get inside of), but this was something else. This meeting of two giants whose paths hadn’t crossed in the recording studio. Only in the last decade or so have I heard the vast number of collaborations Ellington undertook in the early 60s, but this was the first. For me it’s the interplay of Coltrane’s mastery of ballad forms and Ellington’s understated piano work. There’s a different sweetness in each of the album’s seven tracks that runs from the ebullience of The Feeling of Jazz and Big Nick to the yearning trills of In A Sentimental Mood and My Little Brown Book.
Favourite track: Stevie (YouTube link)

I came to Sister Rosetta Tharp much later than most music in this selection, while I was researching the origins of rock and roll for a series of blogs I wrote several years back. I’d never heard of Tharp. She was one of the progenitors whom the historians reference, but doesn’t get the kudos she should, for her delivery, her style, and her guitar mastery (not in that order). There’s a wealth of compilations to choose from, but Volume 2, the Document Records collection of 1942-1944 recordings has both rock and roll and gospel and my favourites Trouble In Mind (YouTube link) and Strange Things Happening Every Day. (Other favourites, This Train and Didn’t It Rain came later – I might have to keep looking for the perfect album.)

Aviary by M-1 Alternative (1991) – This band should have been huge, something I’ve said for 30-plus years. I got into them on the release of La Llorona, the first of their three albums in 1988 or so. My flatmate Mikki introduced me to them and I saw them perform in clubs in San Francisco over the next couple of years. I love all three albums, but this one features Ghetto and Reclaim (YouTube link), two of my favourites songs of theirs. The line I am a ghetto / a maze of streets far from the landing field always spoke to me – my feeling that I was too complicated and not near enough emotionally or intellectually to any place those I was close to landed and met. Theirs was a sad story, to me. They signed to C’est La Mort records for Aviary, and released the followup, The Little Threshing Floor on CLM as well. Just after The Little Threshing Floor was released, CLM’s distributor, Rough Trade, went under. One of the two members moved to New York and out of sight. The other has recently been remastering their work, starting with their earlier demos, and releasing them to Bandcamp.

The Good Son by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (1990) – Dang, but choosing a Nick Cave album for this list was a task. Nearly every album has more high points than lows. I was leaning towards Push The Sky Away which is so beautiful. Other contenders were The Boatman’s Call (beautiful and perfect but closely associated with a difficult time in my life) and Let Love In (great, but I don’t really need to hear Red Right Hand again – it seem to show up everywhere!). When I got into this album, I was still mourning my father who died in 1986 when I was 19. The father/son dialogue of The Weeping Song (YouTube link) spoke volumes to me in its invitation to reconciliation. The son asks in turn why the women, men, and children are all weeping, and finally asks, ‘Father, why are you weeping? / I never thought I hurt you so much,’ with the word ‘hurt’ is stretched out to seven or eight syllables.

Lady In Satin by Billie Holiday (1958) – This is such a strange album – it’s late in Lady Day’s career – one of her last albums, released a year before her death at the age of 44. Her voice is much thinner than it was in her prime, but somehow more expressive. The orchestration is lush and befitting the songs she chose. Violets for Your Furs (YouTube link) and I Get Along Without You Very Well are particularly poignant. My mom or sister bought it when I was in high school and at 15 or so, I definitely didn’t get it. On someone’s recommendation I came back to Billie a few years later with a cassette of Lady Sings The Blues which was in heavy rotation on my walkman for many years. The sheer weight of Lady In Satin, with its lush orchestration started to mean something to me when I turned about 40. A few years ago, I found a 180-gram reissue and my heart just sings when I listen to it now.

Dømkirke by SUNN O))) (2008) – This is definitely the odd one out in my collection. It’s 60 minutes of drone metal and feedback, made melodic and holy. SUNN O))) (pronounced Sun) are known for shows of punishing volume, the use of deep feedback and strange guitar tunings, but that put the listener in an altered state if they come with open ears. While the shows I’ve seen have been in performance spaces, this set was constructed for a one-off show at the titular Dømkirke church in Bergen, Norway. (To be fair, Paradiso in Amsterdam was once a church, but it’s been a concert venue for several decades.) The band’s lineup for this show included vocalist Attila Csihar whose bass rumblings compliment the guitars of founders Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson. My favourite of the four tracks is probably Cannon, but telling the differences between any set of SUNN O))) songs is its own exercise. (Greg Anderson, AKA The Lord, recently released a collaboration with Petra Haden called Devotional (Bandcamp link), which may overtake Dømkirke if you ask me in a year. It’s glorious.)
Favourite track: Cannon (YouTube link)
Bandcamp link: Dømkirke

USA by King Crimson (1975) – I had a very hard time choosing a KC album. They’ve been one of my favourite bands for ages. I think my choice was between this live album and Larks’ Tongues In Aspic (represented here with three tracks – part two of the title instrumental, the ballad Exiles and Easy Money, but not Talking Drum). USA was recorded over two dates on the 1974 tour for Starless and Bible Black, but released as an obituary of sorts after its followup, Red. (USA was not a contractual obligations album the way the near-bootleg quality Earthling was a couple of years before.) This version of the band imploded during the recording of Red and there was no tour for it. Even though some of David Cross’ violin work was overdubbed after by Eddie Jobson, this era was intense and beautiful and never matched. I probably bought my first copy of USA sometime in the 90s. Previously I’d most liked the early 80s incarnation with Adrian Belew on vocals and Tony Levin on Bass (alongside founding guitarist Robert Fripp and drummer Bill Bruford), but I picked up Larks’ Tongues on the recommendation of my then partner’s violin teacher for the intensity of Cross’ work. I then delved into the ‘72-‘74 period (Fripp, Bruford, Cross, John Wetton on bass/vocal) with more interest. For me, the version of LTIA Part II here is one of the best I’ve heard. (It’s been in their set lists for all lineups from this period through the tours of the last 10 or 12 years.) And the version of USA that I’d want is the 2002 reissue that includes Fracture and Starless (the studio version of which is on Red. Fracture is an insane instrumental that was the result of Fripp wanting to write a piece that he himself would find too difficult to play. And it blows my mind whenever I hear it.

Standout improvisation: Asbury Park (YouTube link)

Island records advert for King Crimson’s USA. Band credits and a representation of the album cover are below the name of the band and album in large type.

Spotify playlist

Joe’s History of Jazz
Jazz 3A – The Swing Era Part 1

Historically, the 1930s are called The Great Depression, which began with the crash of the stock market in October, 1929. The exuberance of the Jazz Age started to drain away with the fortunes of much of the country, though the repeal of the 18th Amendment ending Prohibition in December of 1933 breathed new life into the scene.

The recording industry, at the onset of the Depression went into great decline and really didn’t pick up again until about 1935 when Swing really took off. In Jazz history, the decade of the 1930s is called The Swing Era and the Age of the Big Bands. In fact, the popularity of swing music continues all the way through WWII.

Duke Ellington, who makes a national name for himself in this period, is joined by Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, and Glenn Miller. In Paris at this time, we see a European jazz sound emerge with such names as Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli, and Josephine Baker adding to the chanson of Edith Piaf.

It’s hard to pin swing down. Technically, this form features “accented triplets (shuffle rhythm), suitable for dancing” ( Swing time (in terms of time signature) indicates 6/8, 9/8 or 12/8, though an argument is made that that the shuffle rhythm applied to music played in common time (4/4, but you knew that) is sufficient. It’s the swing feel that matters. The steps in swing dancing (to the extent that I managed to learn them) involve counts of 4.

Swing music comes from three distinct angles:

  • Musicians and band leaders themselves composed their own tunes,
    Ellington, Dorsey, Miller’s In The Mood
  • Bands arranging songs originally composed for Broadway shows in the swing style,
    The Gershwins’ songs from Girl Crazy were especially popular in the early 30s; many of Cole Porter’s Broadway songs were jazz hits (and continue to be standards).
  • Composers from outside both of those threads – Tin Pan Alley in Manhattan where professional songwriters had their offices dating back to the 1880s. Noted Tin Pan Alley composers include the Gershwins, Irving Berlin, Jerome (Show Boat) Kern, and Porter.
    Not far away from Tin Pan Alley sits the Brill Building where Goffin and King, Lieber and Stoller, Greenwich and Barry, Sonny Bono, Pomus and Shuman, and Phil Spector composed hits in the 50s and 60s. (There’s a playlist to be had just of the fantastic songs to come out of that one piece of real estate. I’m pretty sure at least one recent Broadway musical was inspired by those songs).

Clarinettist and band leader Benny Goodman (tracks 1-4) was known as The King of Swing. Interestingly, Goodman (born in 1909) was the son of a Polish tailor and a Lithuanian girl who met in Baltimore before moving to Chicago. As a Chicago teenager, he was in a band with Bix Biederbecke. In the late 1920s he recorded in bands with Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey and in the early 30s made recordings with (among others) drummer Gene Krupa, and vocalists Jack Teagarden and Billie Holiday.)

In 1934, Goodman contracted with NBC to perform on the weekly Let’s Dance program. In order to have enough music, he arranged to purchase swing arrangements from composer/bandleader Fletcher Henderson. King Porter Stomp (track 1) was a hit in 1935.

Now before reading the Wikipedia article on Benny Goodman, I was familiar with his work – I had a few albums including 1956 recordings of two Mozart pieces for clarinet recorded with the Boston Symphony. I even taped a postcard image of Goodman to my clarinet case (I took lessons in the 90s from a member of the SF Opera’s orchestra – alas not a smidge of his talent rubbed off on me). That said, I had not heard of this breakthrough 1938 performance at Carnegie Hall (The following is lifted right from Wikipedia – there’s no escaping the full original quote):

 The concert began with three contemporary numbers from the Goodman band—”Don’t Be That Way,” “Sometimes I’m Happy,” and “One O’Clock Jump.” They then played a history of jazz, starting with a Dixieland quartet performing “Sensation Rag”, originally recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1918. Once again, initial crowd reaction, though polite, was tepid. Then came a jam session on “Honeysuckle Rose” featuring members of the Count Basie and Duke Ellington bands as guests. (The surprise of the session: Goodman handing a solo to Basie’s guitarist Freddie Green who was never a featured soloist but earned his reputation as the best rhythm guitarist in the genre—he responded with a striking round of chord improvisations.) As the concert went on, things livened up. The Goodman band and quartet took over the stage and performed the numbers that had already made them famous. Some later trio and quartet numbers were well-received, and a vocal on “Loch Lomond” by Martha Tilton provoked five curtain calls and cries for an encore. The encore forced Goodman to make his only audience announcement for the night, stating that they had no encore prepared but that Martha would return shortly with another number.

By the time the band got to the climactic piece “Sing, Sing, Sing“, success was assured. This performance featured playing by tenor saxophonist Babe Russin, trumpeter Harry James, and Benny Goodman, backed by drummer Gene Krupa. When Goodman finished his solo, he unexpectedly gave a solo to pianist Jess Stacy. “At the Carnegie Hall concert, after the usual theatrics, Jess Stacy was allowed to solo and, given the venue, what followed was appropriate,” wrote David Rickert. “Used to just playing rhythm on the tune, he was unprepared for a turn in the spotlight, but what came out of his fingers was a graceful, impressionistic marvel with classical flourishes, yet still managed to swing. It was the best thing he ever did, and it’s ironic that such a layered, nuanced performance came at the end of such a chaotic, bombastic tune.”[27]

This concert has been regarded as one of the most significant in jazz history. After years of work by musicians from all over the country, jazz had finally been accepted by mainstream audiences. Recordings were made of this concert, but even by the technology of the day the equipment used was not of the finest quality. Acetate recordings of the concert were made, and aluminum studio masters were also cut.

That would have been something to attend. After learning of these recordings, I didn’t listen to much else for a while. One O’Clock Jump was a signature tune for Count Basie and Sing Sing Sing became (and might already have been) Goodman’s own signature tune.

One thing to listen for in the three tracks I’ve selected is that you can feel the swing in the mid-tempo arrangement of One O’Clock Jump, the relatively slow Body and Soul and the very fast Swingtime in the Rockies.

New Jersey native William James “Count” Basie (tracks 5 and 6) spent the mid-20s cutting his teeth on the vaudeville circuit. In the 30s his band featured vocalist Billie Holiday who already had a career in her own right. Sadly they never recorded together. From his early recordings, I’ve shared Roseland Shuffle and his own take on One O’Clock Jump.

Duke Ellington, who you’ve already met, spent the early 30s primarily performing on radio and on tour. That said, he had hits in this period, notably with It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing [track 7]). This would be a signature number for Ellington long into his career (a 1961 recording with Louis Armstrong is particularly tasty) as well as for artists including Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald. (And the phrase “it don’t mean a thing” sneaks into some weird places including industrial band Skinny Puppy’s 1996 song Death.)


I’m not sure the addition of vocalists to swing/jazz acts was anything that new in the 30s. What may be new is that many of the vocalists in the 30s and later (as noted regarding Billie Holiday above) started as guests with existing acts went on to have careers of their own.

Ethel Waters (track 8) actually got her start in the teens, working the same clubs as Bessie Smith. In the 20s, she sang both pop and blues. (Columbia had a ‘race music’ series – it’s probable that all the big labels separated music marketed to whites from music marketed to others. Billboard, prior to the rock and roll era had ‘race music’ charts.) In the 30s she sang at the Cotton Club as well as in an Irving Berlin Broadway revue.

Smith was still touring in the early 30s, though in some obscurity. Her last recordings were made with John Hammond (who was starting to record Billie Holiday at the same time) in 1933 and these sessions included some attempts at swing, but Hammond himself preferred the blues work in these sessions and those are the sides that were released. Bennie Goodman and Jack Teagarden are both listed as performing on these sessions. (tracks 9-12)

Hammond’s an interesting one to bring in. He’d recently graduated Yale (and in 1933 this meant you were male and white), but insisted when he could on using integrated bands on his records and pushed white band leaders to bring in black musicians. ( He made his name primarily as a producer, and almost exclusively for the Columbia label to which he signed such talents as Holiday, and later Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and (after his retirement) Stevie Ray Vaughn.

Billie’s recordings in the 30s, however, were mostly for smaller labels, but under her own name. Indeed, at one time the name on the records was Billie Holiday and Her Orchestra. In 1937 she did sweet versions of the Gershwins’ Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off and They Can’t Take That Away From Me (the latter usually associated with Sinatra though many have recorded it). (tracks 13 and 14)

Louis Prima, a trumpeter and vocalist who would continue to record and perform swing music well into the 1960s made his first recordings in the mid-30s with Joe Venuti and later with Pee Wee Russell before forming the Louis Prima Jump Band. (Perhaps you know the song I Wanna Be Like You from Disney’s The Jungle Book? Yeah, that’d be Louis Prima as the king of the orangutans.) (tracks 15-17)

In 1939, Harry James (a trumpeter in that Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall show) contracted a young Frank Sinatra to sing with his orchestra. They recorded a number of tracks, that year, but in November of that year, James released Sinatra from his contract so that he could accept an offer from the much bigger Tommy Dorsey. (track 18)

In the next instalment we’ll hear from Reinhardt and Grapelli, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Al Jolson and quite a few others.

Joe’s History of Jazz
Lesson 2
The Jazz Age

After World War 1, jazz went through something of an explosion. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald coined the term The Jazz Age with his 1922 short story collection Tales of the Jazz Age. The period was also known as The Roaring Twenties. (If some of my comments seem pedestrian, please recall that original audience of these posts is a pair of young teenagers.)

Prohibition, enacted via the 18th Amendment was another factor in the growth of jazz. Because pubs and bars were closed, speakeasies,venues selling illegal alcohol, proliferated and the entertainment in these clubs tended to be jazz. Radio broadcasts from 1922 onward expanded the reach of jazz from the clubs to the general public.

And then there was the touring. “In 1919 Kid Ory’s Original Creole Jazz Band of musicians from New Orleans played in San Francisco and Los Angeles where in 1922 they became the first black jazz band of New Orleans origin to make recordings.” ( Ory’s Creole Trombone has a definite Dixieland feel to it, but there’s a lot here that became standard in jazz. You can hear the theme develop in the first half of this 3-minute track and then listen for improvisations on the theme by several band members before resolving the theme in the last 15 seconds or so.

Hot Jazz took a leap in Chicago with Joseph Nathan “King” Oliver, a composer and cornet player who developed his technique with the mute. He also taught Louis Armstrong. Oliver started his career in New Orleans but left the south in 1918 for Chicago. (There’s probably a dissertation or two on how racism influenced the development of music in the north in the period before the Civil Rights era.) I’ve chosen Oliver’s Room Rent Blues as the theme of what to do when you can’t make the rent seems to come up regularly (cf John Lee Hooker’s John L’s House Rent Boogie; Bessie Smith’s House Rent Blues). Room Rent Blues also has a really sweet clarinet solo.

A note on instrumentation. In jazz, eventually every instrument in the orchestra came to take part. As noted in the last lesson, banjos were central to Dixieland but fell out of favor somewhat, though Oliver and Ory both called their groups Creole Jazz Bands and you’ll hear banjo and the Dixieland flavour in general in their work. The whole of the brass and woodwind sections, guitar, piano, violin, stand-up and double bass and a variety of drums all find their ways in.

And there are probably several dissertations on women in jazz. Bessie Smith, who was primarily a blues singer, came to prominence in this period. Lil Hardin (who later married Louis Armstrong) played piano with King Oliver. Josephine Baker found her initial fame in the 20s in Paris. (We’ll hear more from her in one of the next lessons.) Bessie Smith’s career is notable in a jazz context for a couple of reasons. First off is that stylistically jazz and blues music are fairly inextricable at this time. She also recorded with a large number of jazz musicians including Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. She started performing in 1913 and landed a recording contract with Columbia in 1923. Moonshine Blues (1924) was composed by Ma Rainey, with whom Smith performed in the 1910s.

Jazz, like R&B, and later rock and roll, was a primarily black musical form which found much of its popularity when performed by white musicians. Sometimes this works to good effect, sometimes it can be rather embarrassing. That said, the man who carried the title The King of Jazz in the 1920s was a white bandleader named, no joke, Paul Whiteman. An argument can be made that the jazz his orchestra performed is rather anemic and generally catered to a conservative white audience. Note that his bands tended not to be integrated and they played from written arrangements ( On the other hand, at various times his band featured notables such as Bix Biederbecke, Bunny Berigan, and Jack Teagarden. His vocalists included Bing Crosby and Billie Holiday. Whiteman’s most interesting contribution to music (not just jazz) lies in his commission of George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue (track 4, a recording which I’m pretty sure features Gershwin himself on piano).

Gershwin (and his brother, lyricist Ira Gershwin) wrote primarily for the theater, but his works include the jazz ballet An American in Paris and the score for Porgy and Bess, which itself spawned the jazz standards I Loves You Porgy and Summertime. Rhapsody in Blue takes jazz into the orchestral realm with its various movements while maintaining room for improvisation. For example, Gershwin didn’t write the score for the piano solo until after the first performance. ( I can imagine Gershwin’s “wait for nod” notation made Whitehead rather nervous, given that his band members always had scores in front of them.

Folks from the earlier decades of jazz continued to have success as well. Jelly Roll Morton’s Red Hot Peppers notably struck with a recording of King Oliver’s Doctor Jazz (track 5).

Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke taught himself trumpet and found success with a crew called the Wolverines who had a long engagement at a speakeasy in Ohio. He recorded his own composition Davenport Blues (track 6) under the name Bix and His Rhythm Jugglers in 1925. He went on to play in Whiteman’s orchestra, but a combination of Whiteman’s heavy touring schedule and his own alcohol dependence led to his death of pneumonia at the age of 28 in 1931.

However the biggest players, especially during the late 20s, were Louis Armstrong, Earl “Fatha” Hines (who collaborated with Armstrong), and Duke Ellington.

Hines started his career as accompanist to Louis Deppe, a Pittsburgh vocalist in 1920. By 1924 he had already toured much of the country with Carroll Dickerson, a jazz violinist and band leader (Jazz violin? Yeah. Later on I’ll share some Stephane Grapelli, a French jazz voilinist whose career lasted from the 1930s to the 90s.) who would shortly incorporate Armstrong into his act. Well, read one way, that’s the case. Read another, it sounds like Armstrong and Hines turned Dickerson’s band into the first of Armstrong’s Hot Fives. Hines at this time, about 1927, took over piano duties previously performed by the aforementioned Lil Hardin. Weather Bird (track 7) comes from a 1928 recording session.

Hines’ band in the late 20s, comprising from 15 to sometimes 28 musicians, played Al Capone’s Grand Terrace three to four shows per night, six or seven nights a week, often broadcast live. It doesn’t seem as though those early broadcasts have been preserved, however At the Apex Club, with clarinettist Jimmie Noone, seems to document a small combo appearance from around this period (Apex Blues, track 8).

Armstrong started playing cornet as a child, playing seriously while doing stints in the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs. King Oliver was a mentor, and Armstrong’s first big break was taking Oliver’s place in Kid Ory’s band (everything’s connected!), but shortly followed Oliver up to Chicago and joined his band. After a stint with Fletcher Henderson in New York, Armstrong returned to Chicago where he formed and recorded with the Hot Five and Hot Seven combos. He concluded the 20s in the orchestra of a Fats Waller review called Hot Chocolates, from which he recorded (What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue (track 9) several times. As previously noted, we’ll be hearing more from Armstrong in the coming decades.

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was raised in Washington DC near Dupont Circle. (In the original version of this lesson, I note the proximity of Dupont Circle to where several of my/my nieces’ relatives grew up/live.) He spent the late 1910s playing society balls and embassy parties in DC and Virginia before moving up north. A 1923 gig in Atlantic City, NJ led to what became a 4-year engagement at the Hollywood Club in New York. In 1927 King Oliver turned down an offer for his group to be the house band at the Cotton Club in Harlem, an offer Ellington didn’t refuse. In the late 20s Ellington’s band recorded under several names including The Washingtonians. I’ve included the early hit East St. Louis Toodle-Oo (track 10) because it was the first Ellington composition I ever heard (on Steely Dan’s 1974 album Pretzel Logic).

Oh, and listen, another song about getting dosh to the landlord, Rent Party Blues (track 11), recorded by Duke Ellington and the Jungle Band in 1929.

I realise looking at this list that it’s quite blues heavy, so I’ve pulled a couple more 1929 Ellington recordings, the Jungle Band’s Harlemania (track 12) and A Night at the Cotton Club (Parts 1 and 2) (tracks 13 and 14) which comprises The Cotton Club Stomp, Misty Mornin’, Goin’ To Town, and Freeze and Melt. These have the feeling of live recordings, but they don’t have the feeling of a band with the freedom to stretch beyond the 3 1/2-minute limitation of a 10” 78 rpm record. My guess is that those concert broadcasts would have had more of the improvisation heard later on recordings like Ellington’s 1940 Live at Fargo, recorded direct to 16” 33 1/3 rpm acetates on which several tracks run over 5 minutes.

We’ll definitely be hearing more from, as Stevie Wonder called him, “the king of all, Sir Duke” as well.

Next up: The Swing Era!