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Some Duke Ellington rarities I stumbled on

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  • Some Duke Ellington rarities I stumbled on

    This thread isn't for everybody. But I just feel I have to throw these out into the universe. I have some Ellington reissues from the '40's and it seemed to me some of his most inventive and complex arrangements were for Al Hibbler. I discovered this "Old Man River" searching youtube for the two of them (Ellington and Hibbler) together. I have a theory that the arrangements are by Billy Strayhorn. I think it's some of the best popular music of the 20th century. And forgotten.

    The arrangement to Old Man River is mind blowing. The third recording is a little poor.

    Sorry I'm not sure how to embed.


    Old Man Rive
    http://youtu.be/bY3s9EWlVrU

    I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues
    http://youtu.be/rx0Ldr4ok88

    I'm Just A Lucky So And So
    http://youtu.be/ieQiOGSEn7Y


    Dave
    indigo_dave

  • #2
    Good stuff! I was in a 17 piece big band for about two years and was in charge of the rhythm section. It was one of the best times of my musical journey so far. There are few things that sound as good onstage as 4 saxophones right next to you hitting hard like say a boppish tune like Jimmy Giuffre's "Four Brothers". Goosebumps I tell ya!

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    • #3
      Duke Ellington is one of my favorite 20th century musical figures. I saw him when I was a kid, in the early/mid 60s, but he was playing one of his jazz suites, as I recall it, and it was a bit abstract and somewhat subdued for me at the time. I wish I'd brought a little more to the table.

      (I was 14 or so and it was a jazz festival at Disneyland for one of their ten year anniversaries (they had one for the groundbreaking, they had one for the ribbon cutting, they had one for the opening of Tomorrowland... any excuse, but it was great for me 'cause I was able to see some leading lights in jazz, including Louis Armstrong on the paddle wheeler. You'll get a pretty good idea from this, although the show I saw was in the middle of the afternoon -- three trips round Tom Sawyer's Island. It was hot. In so many ways. I recall thinking, Oh my gosh, that handkerchief is not an affectation, this man sweats prodigiously! Or something to that effect. I didn't buy a thesaurus 'til the next year.)

      Anyhow, I never heard much of the 20's or even too much of the 30's stuff by Ellington when I was a kid.

      So the stuff from the late 20s and early 30s was a real revelation when I got my first sampler of it in the 80s. (Ah, those heady days when the CD was new and the labels were dumping catalog material onto 70 minute CDs full of great stuff they thought no one cared about any more.)

      A real giant.


      music and social stuff

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      • #4
        (Ah, those heady days when the CD was new and the labels were dumping catalog material onto 70 minute CDs full of great stuff they thought no one cared about any more.)


        A friend worked at MCA records at that time. I got almost the entire Chess/Checker catalog.....LOL......and many other blues CD's you've never heard of.......it was great. They are still my go to CD's if I don't have a specific band or song in mind. Two of my favorite blues CD's are Muddy Waters-The Woodstock Album and John Lee Hooker-Endless Boogie. I think much of the Chess/Checker box set stuff was put through Sonic Solutions there. Hooker, Sonny Boy, Muddy, Willie, Bo Diddley etc etc

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        • #5
          Reading your (Blue2 blue's) memory of Louis Armstrong reminded that the music needs to listened to in the context of it's time. I've heard enough music from the
          1940's to realize how adventurous Ellington's music somtimes was. On the other hand I've read about how ground breaking Armstrong's playing was, but I never really digested it because (I figure) I've not really listened to the music of his period ( his prime in the 1920s and 30's) to have a real comparison.

          The Chess stuff is part of the old testament of rock & roll. All we baby boomer have more than digested it.

          I wonder if and when harmonic movement will make it's way back to popular music.

          Just some thoughts.
          indigo_dave

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          • #6
            One more thing, then I'll let this die..Billy Strayhorn's fingerprints are said to be all over Duke's music but one never knows for sure.

            I have two little dittys regarding Strayhorn. The first is a little bio thing. The second is a song from "The Peaceful Side" an album he did around 1960 or so.

            http://youtu.be/7-jQ9lFiV7U

            http://youtu.be/vBr3KowEfyc

            This guy deserves more attention. And I'll let this thread die now.
            indigo_dave

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            • #7
              Reading your (Blue2 blue's) memory of Louis Armstrong reminded that the music needs to listened to in the context of it's time. I've heard enough music from the
              1940's to realize how adventurous Ellington's music somtimes was. On the other hand I've read about how ground breaking Armstrong's playing was, but I never really digested it because (I figure) I've not really listened to the music of his period ( his prime in the 1920s and 30's) to have a real comparison.

              The Chess stuff is part of the old testament of rock & roll. All we baby boomer have more than digested it.

              I wonder if and when harmonic movement will make it's way back to popular music.

              Just some thoughts.
              Actually, that was a problem for me as well. As really wonderful as the experience of seeing Armstrong was at the time -- and it was -- my mental image of Armstrong was as a beloved cultural institution. I'd heard a little of his old blues from the 20s (good ol' music appreciation class and then later a couple of teachers who were determined that the kids would get at least a little dose of folk and jazz along with their Herman's Hermits and Beach Boys), but mostly what I knew from him was the post WWII stuff, 2 or 3 decades after his arguable prime.

              So I actually got onto guys like Coltrane and Miles before I heard much of Pops' groundbreaking music. It was only reading some of the contemporary trumpeters (not so much Miles, of course, since he seemed pretty convinced he'd invented the trumpet at times ) talking about Armstrong, that I really came to an intellectual understanding of his place in the history of jazz and pop music.


              But, of course, seeing his recreation of his Hot Five and Hot Seven stuff was an immersion, of a sort, in that epochal music -- but it was really only a primal appreciation of the music itself that won me over. I'd got onto the 'paddle wheeler' with it in my mind that I would be seeing a legend (I did and he was maybe 8 or 9 feet from me much of the time) but I didn't expect to be impressed musically so much. But it swept me up and held me completely in its sway for what must have been a couple hours (with a couple short breaks I think).


              music and social stuff

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              • #8
                One more thing, then I'll let this die..Billy Strayhorn's fingerprints are said to be all over Duke's music but one never knows for sure.

                I have two little dittys regarding Strayhorn. The first is a little bio thing. The second is a song from "The Peaceful Side" an album he did around 1960 or so.

                http://youtu.be/7-jQ9lFiV7U

                http://youtu.be/vBr3KowEfyc

                This guy deserves more attention. And I'll let this thread die now.
                I'd say he was integral with Duke's legendary career... certainly intertwined with it, inextricable from it.

                Speaking of "Lush Life." What a killer tune. I mean, it's not just great music, a haunting, bittersweet melody -- it's one of the great songs about about sadness and resignation as embodied by the hipster rou


                music and social stuff

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                • #9
                  I've felt for a long time that the big band era, that was popular and sophisticated and musically adventurous all at the same time, was some sort of cultural pinnacle that hasn't been matched.

                  Jazz went high-brow, intellectual, aggressive in the 50s and lost the popular audience largely (but not entirely - Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, Brubeck, others).

                  Now personally I'm wild for bebop, and tons of jazz since then, but it's such a smaller audience, harder to understand and get into, and lacks a certain big-hearted humanity that the Duke, Strayhorn, Basie, and the others had IMHO. That big hearted thing probably goes back to Satchmo I would guess - but I'm no musicologist...

                  And it seems now, that technology has led to a situation where sophistication and large-scale appeal is practically impossible...strange days indeed..

                  But there are some lights out there - anyone else a fan of Cyrus Chestnut, like I am?

                  nat whilk ii

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