"..and his mother called him Bill"
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Billy Strayhorn Compositions
Trumpets – Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Herbie
Jones, Clark Terry (Flugel)
Trombones – Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors
Clarinet – Jimmy Hamilton
Saxes - Johnny Hodges, Russell Precope, Paul Gonsalves, Harry
Piano - Duke Ellington.
Bass – Aaron Bell
Drums – Sam Woodyard
- Blood Count
- After All
- The Intimacy of the Blues
- Rock Skippin’ at the Blue Note
- All Day long
- Lotus Blossom
- Acht O’clock Rock
- My Little Brown Book
- Lotus Blossom
How I came to miss out on this music when it was first
released on LP, I don’t know, but I am ever so grateful to have it in
my collection now. It was made in 1967 as a tribute to the then recently
deceased Billy Strayhorn. Billy or ‘Sweet Pea’ as he was known, was
nearly as influential on the Ellington Band as the leader himself. Even
the signature tune, ‘Take the A Train’, was a Strayhorn composition
although that one is not included in this collection.
If anyone is in any doubt as to just what a great orchestra
Ellington had assembled at that time and just how excellent a composer
and arranger Strayhorn was, should hear this record, which demonstrates
both facts beyond doubt
Both Ellington and Strayhorn wrote their music with
the current band members in mind, those who followed had to sort that
out for themselves, most stayed however for relatively long periods
of time. This band is full of star musicians, Johnny Hodges, Cat Anderson,
Clark Terry, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney and Jimmy Hamilton are all
musicians with individual style and tone which makes them instantly
There are two versions of Lotus Blossom, a solo version
and a trio version, the Duke being featured on both. It was the tune
Strayhorn most liked to hear the Duke play. Strayhorn’s arrangements
have stood the test of time brilliantly, if you listen to the big band
arrangers of to-day, many of the sounds they use were already in use
by him in the 1960’s and before.
Take my tip – Order this, it is essential music
for the serious jazz collector.
As the Duke said in a Eulogy he wrote in 1967 "God
Bless Billy Strayhorn"