Duke Ellington

Jeep's Blues

Composed by Duke Ellington / Johnny Hodges

Song Review by

“Jeep’s Blues,” jointly written by Duke Ellington and his star saxophonist Johnny Hodges, was first recorded for Vocalion in 1938, a small group record released under Hodges’ name. Hodges’ leads off with a brief solo on soprano sax, followed by the growling muted trumpet of Cootie Williams, Harry Carney’s mellow baritone sax, the Lawrence Brown’s soulful trombone, while Ellington does not solo at all. It was a hit on Harlem jukeboxes and included as a part of a broadcast concert at the Apollo Theater the following year (this version for the full band features some heavy handed drumming by Sonny Greer and is unfortunately incomplete). By the time it was recorded again at the famous 1956 Newport Jazz Festival concert, Hodges had long since abandoned the soprano sax, sticking exclusively to alto sax, while he had also recorded the piece with a small group under his leadership right after leaving Ellington in early 1951. It took awhile to catch on as a regular feature in Ellington’s band book, but once it did, the song remained until the end of the pianist’s career, even after Hodges’ death in 1970. Numerous recordings by Ellington have been issued, along with interpretations by alumni like Clark Terry and Booty Wood and several different versions by bopper Sonny Stitt. European bands have also been particularly attracted to “Jeep’s Blues.” But the landmark recording remains the original version.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Live at the Blue Note [1959] 1959 Roulette Records 3:50
Hot Summer Dance 1960 Red Baron 3:35
Greatest Hits [CBS Special Products] 1963 Sony Music Distribution 4:50
All Star Road Band, Vol. 2 1983 Collectables 5:05
No Image 1985 Musicraft
Private Collection, Vol. 4: Studio Sessions, New York, 1963 1987 BMG / R2M 4:08
Satin Doll [Zeta] 1989 Zeta Records 4:40
The Duke's Men: Small Groups, Vol. 2 1993 Columbia 2:53
The Unheard Recordings, Pt. 1: Live at Monterey 1960 1996 Status (UK)
How Do You Duke 1996 Jazz World 4:05
Legends of Jazz [Eclipse] 1997
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 4:02
Revue Collection 1997 Delta Music Ltd. / Laserlight 4:41
At Newport 1956 Complete 1999 Columbia/Legacy 4:31
Anniversary 1999 Masters of Jazz 2:57
In Sweden 1973 1999 Caprice Records
Th. Champs Élysées, 1965, Pt. 2 1999 Trema 4:41
The Duke - The Essential Collection: 1927-1962 2000 Sony Music Entertainment
Ken Burns Jazz 2000 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 4:42
Ken Burns Jazz, Vol. 1 2002
Various Artists
Legacy / Columbia 4:42
Jump for Joy/The Jeep Is Jumpin' 2002 TKO Records 3:11
Duke Ellington at the Alhambra 2002 Pablo
The Satin Doll Collection 2003 Collectables 5:05
The Jazz Lounge [Benz-Street] 2004
Various Artists
Laserlight 3:24
Copenhagen (1965), Pts. 1 & 2 [DVD] 2005 Image Entertainment
The Essential Duke Ellington [Sony] 2005 Sony Music Distribution 4:42
Love You Madly/A Concert of Sacred Music at Grace Cathedral [Video] 2005 Eagle Vision / Universal Music
No Image 2006 RCA Camden Classics / Sony BMG
No Image 2006 Mosaic
Jazz Profile 2008 Sony BMG 4:43
Jazz Albums You Should Hear Before You Die 2008
Various Artists
Golden Stars 5:17
The Essential Duke Ellington [Not Now] 2009 Not Now Music
Jazz Obowiązkowy 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / MyMusic 5:19
Larkin's Jazz 2010
Various Artists
Proper Box
Sessions 1956-1971 2011 BMG / R2M 4:08
American Hustle [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2013
Original Soundtrack
Legacy 4:43
In Gröna Lund 1963 2014 Storyville / Storyville Records 5:01
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