Duke Ellington

Brown Betty

Composed by Billy Strayhorn / Duke Ellington

Song Review by

“Brown Betty” was a ballad feature written for Johnny Hodges by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, though the pianist introduces it during its premiere performance as Strayhorn’s tune. With a thought provoking background behind him, the lush-toned alto saxophonist makes the most of the new material. Premiered at the 1948 Cornell University concert, it was played on just seven occasions before it was retired for good from the band book in 1951. By the time it was finally recorded in the studio Columbia, Hodges had already departed to lead his own small group, so the alto sax solo was dropped and trumpeter Nelson Williams and baritone saxophonist Harry Carney were featured in its place.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1972 CBS Records 3:05
No Image 1976 Columbia 3:05
No Image 1979 Raretone
Duke Ellington Centenary Collection 1993 Musicmasters 6:13
Centenary Collection Slipcase Edition 1999 Musicmasters 6:10
Anniversary 1999 Masters of Jazz 5:51
No Image 1999 Columbia 3:06
The Duke - The Essential Collection: 1927-1962 2000 Sony Music Entertainment
Cotton Club Stomp [Disc 5] 2000 Disky 5:14
No Image 2008 Nocturne Records / BD Jazz 3:07
Super Hits 2009 Sony Music Distribution / Sony CMG 3:06
The Essential Duke Ellington [Not Now] 2009 Not Now Music
No Image 2013 Golden Sky Records 3:02
1952: A Time To Remember The Classic Years
Various Artists
The CD Card Company 3:08
C-Jam Blues Quadromania Klassik 3:08
No Image CBS Records
blue highlight denotes editor's pick