Starting my morning with a swing

Duke Ellington's orchestra in 1959 in Germany with Shakespearean Sonnet excerpts:

That was tweeted in honor of the anniversary of Duke Ellington's birth, 4/29/12. Thanks to a reminder from my first cousin once removed or something like that Rick, who added these great notes and recommended two more videos.

"Selections from Such Sweet Thunder" – from German television: concert on 2/7/1959 in Germany.
 Such Sweet Thunder was a 12-part suite that Ellington wrote based on the work of Shakespeare (released in 1957). Here the band plays the first part ("Such Sweet Thunder" – referencing Othello; solo by Ray Nance trumpet) and the third part ("Sonnet to Hank Cinq" — referencing Henry V; this is a blues in a boogie-woogie pattern with solo by Britt Woodman trombone; by the way, it has been said that the number of syllables in a Shakespearean sonnet are equal to the number of notes in an Ellington sonnet). The band plays the first piece faster than on the album.

"Isfahan" from The Far East Suite – from American TV show in 1965; featuring Johnny Hodges on alto saxophone (and the entire wonderful sax section).
The Far East Suite is a 9-composition suite recorded in 1966 (so it was recorded after this live TV event). Johnny Hodges was one of the greatest sax players ever — deeply influenced by Sidney Bechet and Coleman Hawkins but he turned their emotionalism into a pure bell-like tone on the alto sax.

"Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue":
Originally these were two pieces composed in 1937 — "Diminuendo in Blue" and "Crescendo in Blue" — then brought together as one work: "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue." The tenor sax player who solos — Paul Gonsalves (yes, that's the correct spelling) — began playing the solo in 1951. The solo actually occurs BETWEEN the two pieces. In 1956 at the Newport Jazz Festival Gonsalves stunned the jazz world with his legendary 26-chorus solo on this piece, revealing him to be a major player of the instrument. It was said he almost caused a riot because of the frenzy of the audience. He continued doing this solo for years with the band. I don't know when this version was filmed — probably in the 1960s.

Hooray for relatives who send you things like this with which to start your day!

New tune tonight

My old pal (Polyester) Lester just asked me to take a look at this great page for a new artist on his Belletrist Records label. Ladies & gents, I give you Batter Brown!

I like the song Lying On The Pavement best of these. Also be sure to highlight as instructed on the page.

Mmm, sure do love me some of that music of Alaskan school bus drivers…