“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.