music clip of the day


Tag: Duke Ellington

Tuesday, July 2nd

like nobody else

Blossom Dearie (1924-2009), “Sophisticated Lady” (D. Ellington, I. Mills, M. Parrish), live, 1983




random sights

this morning, Oak Park, Ill.

Wednesday, September 2nd

tenor fest
day three

Sonny Rollins Trio (with Henry Grimes, bass; Joe Harris, drums), “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” (E. K. “Duke” Ellington), live, Sweden, 1959




reading table

frogs sing, roosters sing
the east
turns light

—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue

Sunday, November 30th


Bunny Briggs, tap dancer, February 26, 1922-November 15, 2014

Duke Ellington Orchestra with Bunny Briggs (dance) and Jon Hendricks (vocal), “David Danced Before the Lord with All His Might,” live (A Concert of Sacred Music), San Francisco (Grace Cathedral), 1965


And David danced before the Lord with all his might . . .

—2 Samuel 6:14 (King James)



art beat

Robert Frank (1924-), Funeral—St. Helena, South Carolina, 1955


Tuesday, April 29th

Happy (115th) Birthday, Duke!

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, April 29, 1999-May 24, 1974
pianist, composer, bandleader

“Black Beauty,” 1928


“C Jam Blues,” 1942


“Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” 1943




WKCR (Columbia University): all Duke, all day.

Sunday, 10/7/12

Some folks sing with their feet.

Duke Ellington Orchestra, Bunny Briggs (dance), Jon Hendricks (vocal), “David Danced Before the Lord with All His Might,” live, San Francisco (Grace Cathedral), 1965



reading table

And David danced before the Lord with all his might . . .

—2 Samuel 6:14 (King James)

Sunday, 4/29/12

Let’s go to church.

“Until I Die,” Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., 2001



reading table

On the Death of Friends in Childhood

We shall not ever meet them bearded in heaven,
Nor sunning themselves among the bald of hell;
If anywhere, in the deserted schoolyard at twilight,
Forming a ring, perhaps, or joining hands
In games whose very names we have forgotten.
Come, memory, let us seek them there in the shadows.

—Donald Justice (Collected Poems, 2004)


“[We find] it impossible, when we have to analyze death, to imagine it in terms other than those of life.”

—Marcel Proust, The Fugitive (translated from French by Peter Collier)


listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• The Dirtbombs, Ultraglide In Black (In the Red Records)

Wild Flag (Merge Records)

• That’s What They Want: The Best of Jerry McCain (Excello)

The Best of Slim Harpo (Hip-O)

• Ambrose Akinmusire, When the Heart Emerges Glistening (Blue Note)

• Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, I Only Have Eyes For You (ECM)

• Anthony Braxton, 9 Compositions (Iridium)

• Chicago Tentet, American Landscapes 1 & 2 (Okka)

• Steve Lehman Octet, Travail, Transformation, and Flow (Pi Recordings)

• Joe McPhee, Nation Time (Unheard Music Series)

• Weasel Walter, Mary Halvorson, Peter Evans, Electric Fruit (Thirsty Ear)

• J. Berg’s Royal Rarities Vols. 2-3; A Cappella Archives, Vol. 3; Gospel Goldies, Vol. 2 (Rare Gospel)

• The Fisk Jubilee Quartet, There Breathes A Hope (Archeophone)

This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel On 45 RPM 1957-1982 (Tompkins Square)

• Bach, Suites for Unaccompanied Cello, Pierre Fournier, (Archiv Production/DG)

• Mozart, Piano Sonatas Nos. 16 and 17, Peter Serkin, piano (Pro Arte)

• Arnold Schoenberg, Das Klavierwerk, Peter Serkin, piano (Arcana)

The Art of Joseph Szigeti (Biddulph Recordings)

• Anton Webern, Five Movements For String Quartet, Op. 5; Six Bagatelles For String Quartet, Op. 9; String Quartet, Op. 28; Quartetto Italiano (Philips)

• Anton Webern, Complete Works for String Quartet and String Trio, Artis Quartet Wien (Nimbus)

Music of Stefan Wolpe, Vol. 6, David Holzman, piano (Bridge)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
Rag Aur Taal (various, Indian)


Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Cherry Blossom Clinic (Terre T, rock, etc.)
Fool’s Paradise (Rex; “Vintage rockabilly, R & B, blues, vocal groups, garage, instrumentals, hillbilly, soul and surf”)

• WHPK-FM (broadcasting from University of Chicago)

The Blues Excursion (Arkansas Red)



Happy Birthday, Duke!

All Ellington, all day: WKCR-FM.

Sunday, 1/22/12

With voices like these who needs microphones?

Davis Sisters, “On the Right Road,” live (TV Broadcast), c. 1964



my back pages

Thirty-five years ago tonight—how could I possibly begin a sentence “thirty-five years ago tonight” and be referring to something that happened when I was, at least nominally, an adult? Well, this actually happened that night so I guess it must be possible. On that cold, clear January night, at a small church thirty miles north of Chicago, Suzanne and I were married. Yes, there was music. Tenor saxophonist Von Freeman and pianist John Young (now gone) played before and after the ceremony. The processional was Duke Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood,” played by Von alone. What did all this sound like? Thanks to my friend (and ace recording engineer) James C. Moore, these sounds can be heard, thirty-five years later, here (M4A—give it a few seconds).

Wednesday, 7/20/11

old stuff
(an occasional series)

Duke Ellington, “Black Beauty” (1928)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Saturday, 1/22/11

Thirty-four years ago, on a cold Saturday night, in a church about
thirty miles north of Chicago, tenor saxophonist Von Freeman played this, unaccompanied, at our wedding.

Sonny Rollins (tenor saxophone) with The Modern Jazz Quartet (John Lewis, piano; Milt Jackson, vibraphone; Percy Heath, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums), “In A Sentimental Mood” (Duke Ellington), 1953

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy (111th) Birthday, Duke!

At least one day out of the year all musicans should just put their instruments down, and give thanks to Duke Ellington.

—Miles Davis

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra

“C Jam Blues,” 1942


“Mood Indigo,” “Sophisticated Lady,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” 1943


It is becoming increasingly difficult to decide where jazz starts or where it stops, where Tin Pan Alley begins and jazz ends, or even where the borderline lies between between classical music and jazz. I feel there is no boundary line.

—Duke Ellington


Radio Ellington: All Duke, All Day

WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

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