Claude Bolling

A Drum Is a Woman

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In 1956, Duke Ellington's show A Drum Is a Woman was broadcast on television. Although utilizing the Ellington orchestra, the emphasis was on a somewhat abstract and bizarre story line involving characters named Madame Zajj and Carribee Joe. Zajj, who is born as Joe's drum, travels the world and becomes famous but still dreams of Carribee Joe, who preferred to remain in the jungle. Forty years after the Ellington telecast, French bandleader Claude Bolling revived the story for a show and this recording. Jeffery Smith is the narrator (at times sounding a bit like Duke Ellington), and he shares the vocals with Laika and Francine Romain while joined by the Claude Bolling Orchestra. The revival performance is well done, but the original story is so odd that the results are just a historical curiosity.

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