Beyond the Valley of the Usual Suspects (Podcast #18-011)

Another sampling of rarely covered Ellington compositions….
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Most Duke Ellington tribute concerts and recordings rely on just a handful of his compositions (Mood IndigoSatin DollIn A Sentimental Mood, etc.). The Duke Ellington Society refers  to these songs as “the usual suspects.” While they are worthy of their status as standards, Ellington wrote thousands of compositions; there is plenty of his oeuvre that is ripe for exploration!

Aaron Diehl and Adam Birnbaum play Tonk


Rent Party Blues


The recordings heard on this podcast episode:

world volume 4

Let the Zoomers Drool (CD: “World Broadcasting Series, Volume 4” Circle CCD-104)

Recorded 3 January 1945, New York City

Shelton Hemphill,  Rex Stewart, Taft Jordan, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Claude Jones -trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Otto Hardwicke, Johnny Hodges, Al Sears, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Junior Raglin – bass; Sonny Greer – drums

oatts dial

Let the Zoomers Drool (CD: Dial & Oatts, Rich DeRosa, The WDR Big Band “Rediscovered Ellington, New Takes on Duke’s Rare & Unheard Music” Zoho Music ZM 201707 )

Released 2017

Ruud Breuls, Rob Bruynen, Andy Haderer, John Marshall – trumpet; Ludwig Nuss, Shannon Barnett, Mattis Cederberg, Andy Hunter – trombone;  Dick Oatts, Olivier Peters, Paul Heller, Johan Hörlén, Jens Neufang, Karolina Strassmayer – reeds; Garry Dial – piano; John Goldsby – bass; Hans Dekker – drums; Rich DeRosa – arranger and conductor.



Oclupaca (CD: “Latin American Suite” Original Jazz Classics OJCCD-469-2)

Recorded 5 November 1968, New York City

Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Willie Cook – trumpets; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombones; Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harold Ashby, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Jeff Castleman – bass; Rufus Jones – drums.


Oclupaca (CD: Frederic Couderc “Kirkophonie” Cristal 26)


Frederic Couderc – bass saxophone; Vincent Bourgeyx – piano

early ellington 2

Rent Party Blues (CD: “Early Ellington: The Original Decca Recordings (The Complete Brunswick and Vocalion Recordings of Duke Ellington, 1926-1931)” Decca GRD-3-640)

Recorded 1 March 1929, New York City

Arthur Whetsel, Cootie Williams, Freddie Jenkins – trumpet; Joe Nanton – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney – reeds;  Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – banjo; Wellman Braud – bass; Sonny Greer – drums

duo campion vachon

Rent Party Blues (CD: Duo Campion-Vachon “Duke Ellington: Four Handed Piano” Analekta AN 29820)

Recorded 12/14 November 2004

Guy Campion, Mario Vachon – piano.

bal masque

Don’t You Know I Care? (Or Don’t You Care To Know) (CD: “Duke Ellington at the Bal Masque” Sony Music Distribution COL4691362)

Recorded 14 July 1960, Los Angeles

Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Johnny Hodges – alto saxophone; Paul Gonsalves – tenor saxophone; Harry Carney – baritone saxophone; Duke Ellington – piano; Aaron Bell – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.

cool rock

Don’t You Know I Care? (Or Don’t You Care To Know) (CD: “Cool Rock”  Laserlight

Recorded 12 June 1972, New York City

Cootie Williams,  Harold “Money” Johnson, Mercer Ellington, Johnny Coles – trumpet; Tyree Glenn, Vincente Prudente, Chuck Connors – trombone; Russell Procope, NorrisTurney, Harold Minerve, Harold Ashby, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Joe Benjamin – bass; Rufus Jones – drums.


Don’t You Know I Care? (Or Don’t You Care To Know) (CD: Archie Shepp “Day Dream” Denon ‎– DC-8547)

Recorded 3 June 1977, New York City

Archie Shepp – soprano sax; Walter Davis – piano; Earl May – bass; Philly Joe Jones – drums.


Portrait of Wellman Braud (CD: “New Orleans Suite” Warner Bros. 7411644)

Recorded 13 May 1970, New York City

Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Fred Stone – trumpet; Booty Wood, Julian Priester, Chuck Connors – trumpet; Russell Procope, Norris Turney, Harold Ashby, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Joe Benjamin – bass; Rufus Jones – drums.


Portrait of Wellman Braud (CD: Stefon Harris, “African Tarantella: Dances with Duke” – Blue Note 41090)

Released 2006

Personnel: Stefon Harris – vibraphone, marimba; Xavier Davis – piano; Derrick Hodge – bass; Terreon Gully – drums; Anne Drummond – flute; Greg Tardy – clarinet; Steve Turre – trombone; Junah Chung – viola; Louise Dubin – cello.

blue note

Tonk (CD: “Live at the Blue Note” Blue Note CDS 8286372)

Recorded 9 August 1959, Chicago

Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn – piano; Sam Woodyard – drums.


Tonk (CD: Randy Sandke and the Inside Out Band “Outside In” Evening Star Records ‎– ES 110)

Recorded 18/26 January 2005, New York City

Randy Sandke – trumpet; Wycliffe Gordon, Ray Anderson – trombone; Ken Peplowski, Marty Ehrlich, Scott Robinson – reeds; Uri Caine – piano; Howard Alden – guitar; Greg Cohen -bass; Dennis Mackrel – drums.


— Our closing music —-


It’s Something You Ought To Know (Paul Gonsalves – “Ellingtonia Moods and Blues,” RCA Victor / RCA63562)

Recorded 29 February 1960, New York City

Paul Gonsalves- tenor sax; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ray Nance – cornet; Mitchell “Booty” Wood – trombone; Jimmy Jones – piano; Al Hall – bass; Oliver Jackson – drums.