Most Duke Ellington tribute concerts and recordings rely on just a handful of his compositions (Mood Indigo, Satin Doll, In 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!
Despite having a major new work to promote (Such Sweet Thunder), in this 1957 television appearance Ellington has to take time away from it in order to play a greatest hits medley (aka “The Usual Suspects”).
The recordings heard on this podcast episode:
Azure (CD: “The Complete 1933-1940 Brunswick, Columbia and Master Recordings of Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra” Mosaic Records #248)
Recorded 22 April 1937, New York City
Arthur Whetsel, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Billy Taylor, Hayes Alvis – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.
Azure (CD: “Sempre Amore” Soul Note SN 1170)
Recorded 17 February 1986, Milan, Italy
Steve Lacy – soprano sax; Mal Waldron – piano
Everything But You (CD: “Black, Brown & Beige” Bluebird 6641-2-RB)
Recorded 1 May 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; Joya Sherrill – vocal.
Everything But You (CD: “Cootie Williams – In Chronology, 1945 – 1946” Classics 981)
Recorded 19 July 1945, New York City
Cootie Williams, Ermit V. Perry, George Treadwell, Billy Ford, Clarence “Gene” Redd – trumpet; Ed Burke, Dan Logan, Robert Horton – trombone; Rupert Cole, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Sam “The Man” Taylor, Lee Pope, George Favors – reeds; Arnold Jarvis – piano; Carl Pruitt – bass; Sylvester Payne – drums.
Everything But You (CD: “The Original Ellington Suite” Pacific Jazz – 7243 5 24567 2 7)
Recorded 22 August 1958, Los Angeles
Eric Dolphy – flute; John Pisano – guitar; Nat Gershman – cello; Hal Gaylor – bass; Chico Hamilton –drums.
I Like the Sunrise (CD: “Francis A. & Edward K.” Reprise Records 1024-2)
Recorded 11/12 December 1967, Los Angeles
Frank Sinatra – vocal; Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Herbie Jones, Mercer Ellington – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Jeff Castleman – bass; Sam Woodyard – drums.
I Like The Sunrise (CD: “Sunrise” Arbors Records ARCD 19458)
Recorded 18/19 April 2017, Union City, New Jersey
Ken Peplowski – clarinet; Bob Millikan, Jon-Erik Kellso, Randy Reinhart, Andy Gravish – trumpets; John Allred, Harvey Tibbs, Bruce Eidem, Jennifer Wharton – trombones; Jack Stuckey, Jon Gordon, Mark Lopeman, Adrian Cunningham, Carl Maraghi – reeds; Ehud Asherie – piano; Matt Munisteri – bass; Chuck Redd – drums.
Bojangles (CD: “Duke Ellington, The Centennial Edition” RCA Victor – 09026-63386-2)
Recorded 4 May 1940 Los Angeles
Wallace Jones, Cootie Williams, Rex Stewart – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Joe Nanton, Juan Tizol – trombone; Barney Bigard, Johnny Hodges, Otto Hardwicke, Ben Webster, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guitar; Jimmie Blanton – bass; Sonny Greer – drums.
Bojangles (CD: “Passion Flower – Zoot Sims plays Duke Ellington” Pablo OJCCD-939-2)
Zoot Sims – tenor sax; Bobby Bryant, Oscar Brashear, Al Aarons, Earl Gardner – trumpet; J.J. Johnson, Britt Woodman, Grover Mitchell, Benny Powell – trombone; Marshal Royal, Buddy Collette, Plas Johnson, Frank Wess – reeds; Jimmy Rowles – piano; John Collins – guitar; John Heard – bass; Shelly Manne – drums.
Tulip or Turnip (CD: “Happy Birthday, Duke! Volume 4” Laserlight Digital 15 786)
Recorded 29 April 1954, Portland, Oregon
Willie Cook, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Ray Nance – trumpet; Britt Woodman, Quentin Jackson, John Sanders – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Rick Henderson, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Wendell Marshall – bass; Dave Black – drums.
Tulip or Turnip (CD: “Hello Rev” Concord Jazz CCD-4027)
Recorded 1 August 1976 at the Concord (California) Summer Festival
Bill Berry, Blue Mitchell, Cat Anderson, Gene Goe, Jack Sheldon – trumpet; Benny Powell, Britt Woodman, Jimmy Cleveland, Tricky Lofton – trombone; Don Menza, Jack Nimitz, Lanny Morgan, Marshal Royal, Richie Kamuca – reeds; Dave Frishberg – piano; Monty Budwig – bass; Frank Capp – drums.
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.