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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Don Mather, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf, Glyn Pursglove



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DUKE ELLINGTON &
HIS ORCHESTRA

1929 Ė 1943 

Storyville Films DVD 26033 

 

 


 
Black and Tan (1929)

Black and Tan Fantasy
The Duke Steps Out
Black Beauty
Cotton Club Stomp
Flaming Youth
Same Train
Black and Tan Fantasy 
Check and Double Check (1930)

Three Little Words
Old Man Blues 
Symphony in Black (1934)

The Laborers
A Triangle
A Hymn of Sorrow
Oh Babe! Maybe Sometime 
The Hit Parade of 1937

Iíve Got To Be a Rug Cutter 
RKD Jamboree No.7 (1943)
Mood Indigo
Sophisticated Lady
It Donít Mean a Thing
Donít Get Around Much Anymore 
 

Duke Ellington became a household name in the USA because of his regular broadcasts from the Cotton Club in Harlem. These early films were probably brought about as a result of these broadcasts and people's wish to see, as well as hear, the band. They certainly demonstrate that Ellington had a fine band right back to the days of his residency at the Cotton Club and maybe before. Nearly all the tunes are the Dukeís own work and all of the bands are packed with fine musicians and great soloists. 

Artie Whetsol is the first soloist assisting the Dukeís meanderings through the Black and Tan theme in segment one. The Check and Double Check segment comes from an Amos & Andy film. Unusually for such a film, the band, an eleven piece, is featured for two whole numbers. The band is obviously choreographed for the movie, but the music is good. The third section is a short film about the life of Black Americans in those years. Tricky Sam Nanton is heard on this one, and there is a brief appearance of a young Billie Holiday.

The fourth section is an interesting account of the record industry at that time. The final section features Ray Nance playing and singing on It Donít Mean a Thing, together with Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges. 
 

This DVD is an interesting piece of jazz history dedicated to one of the genre's most influential sons. 
Don Mather

 
 

 

 

 



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