Portrait of Al Hibbler (Podcast #18-012)

Al Hibbler was with the Ellington band from 1943 to 1951. Continue reading

“It was much easier than I thought it would be for Hib to learn songs, but that was because he has ears that see, and so miracles happened. He learned song after song, and soon he was our major asset — truly a profitable investment, both dollar-wise and for luxury of keeping my ear in deep. He had so many sounds that even without words he could tell of fantasy beyond fantasy. Hib’s great dramatic devices and the variety of his tonal changes give him almost unlimited range. His capabilities are so many, but I should mention first his clear, understandable enunciation. He can produce a whispering, confidential sound, or an outburst that borders on panic. He will adopt a nasal tone at just the right word and note, or affect a sudden drop to what sounds like the below-compass bass. Cries, laughs, and highly animated calls — he uses them all to make  the listener see it as he see it. Sinatra calls Albert Hibbler and Ray Charles his two ace pilots.”

— Duke Ellington, Music is my Mistress


Duke Ellington and Al Hibbler

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My Al Hibbler concert experience, 1980


The recordings heard on this podcast episode:

charlie parker2

Get Me On Your Mind (LP: “Jay McShann -The Early Bird Charlie Parker (1941-1943)” MCA MCA-1338)

Recorded 2 July 1942, New York City

Bob Merrill, Bernard Anderson, Orville Minor – trumpet; Lawrence Anderson, Joe Baird – trombone; John Jackson, Charlie Parker – alto sax; Bob Mabane, Freddy Culliver – tenor sax; Jimmy Coe – baritone sax; Jay McShann – piano; Leonard Enois – guitar; Gene Ramey – bass; Gus Johnson – drums.


world volume 4

Don’t You Know I Care (or Don’t You Care To Know)/I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues (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; Al Hibbler, Kay Davis – vocal


carnegie 48

Don’t Be So Mean To Baby/Lover Come Back to Me/Trees/It’s Monday Every Day/Unchained Melody (CD: “Carnegie Hall, November 13, 1948” Vintage Jazz Classics 1024)

Recorded 13 November 1948 at Carnegie Hall, New York City

Shelton Hemphill, Al Killian, Francis Williams, Harold Baker, Ray Nance – trumpet; Lawrence Brown, Quentin Jackson, Tyree Glenn – trombone; Jimmy Hamilton, Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges, Al Sears, Ben Webster, Harry Carney – reeds; Duke Ellington – piano; Fred Guy – guy; Wendell Marshall – bass; Sonny Greer – drums, Al Hibbler – vocal.



This Love of Mine (CD: Johnny Hodges “Seven Classic Albums” Real Gone Jazz RGJCD312)

Recorded 22 July 1952 Los Angeles

Emmett Berry – trumpet; Lawrence Brown – trombone; Johnny Hodges – alto sax; Ben Webster – tenor sax; Leroy Lovett – piano; Red Callender – bass; J. C. Heard – drums.



Unchained Melody (45 rpm, Decca 0-29982)

Released 1955

Al Hibbler – vocal; Orchestra directed by Jack Pleis



I Was Telling Her About You (45 rpm, Decca 0-29982)

Released July 1956

Al Hibbler – vocal; Orchestra directed by Jack Pleis


a meeting of the times

Lover, Come Back To Me/Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me (LP: “A Meeting of the Times” Atlantic SD 1630  )

Recorded 30/31 March 1972, New York City

Rahsaan Roland Kirk – tenor sax, manzello, Al Hibbler – vocal; Hank Jones – piano; Ron Carter – bass; Oliver Jackson – drums.



You Should Have Told Me (LP: “For Sentimental Reasons” Open Sky Records OSR 3126)

Recorded 18 November 1982, New York City

Al Hibbler – vocal; Buddy Tate – tenor sax; Hank Jones – piano; Milt Hinton – bass; Oliver Jackson – 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.