Duke Ellington & His Orchestra

The Treasury Shows, Vol. 14

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Duke Ellington appeared in numerous Treasury Shows to support fundraising for fighting World War II and the postwar treatment of wounded veterans over a several-year stretch during the 1940s. Two consecutive weekly shows, both of which, at 73 minutes, are a bit longer than others in the series, are featured in this collection. One of the benefits of these programs is that there was no artificial time limit imposed by recording regular 78-rpm discs, as on the opening version of “Time's A-Wastin'" (which would become better known as “Things Ain't What They Used to Be"). This version features trumpeter Taft Jordan, trombonist Lawrence Brown, and alto sax great Johnny Hodges in an extended workout of this blues favorite. Sid Catlett replaces Sonny Greer for this broadcast, filling in admirably. There are also a number of obscurities that were performed only a few times, such as Buck Clayton's “Hollywood Hangover" and Ellington numbers like “Riding on a Blue Note," “Riff'n Drill," and “Hop, Skip and Jump" (also known as “Rockabye River"). Ellington frequently mixed in pop tunes, especially for vocal features, though not all of them became standards. Joya Sherrill is the most effective of the three singers, particularly in Johnny Green's “Tell Ya What I'm Gonna Do," though she proves equally effective in the leader's “Everything But You." Trumpeter Rex Stewart's extensive feature in the standard “Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" also stands out, though it too was only briefly in the band's book. The second program is marred by an announcer who can't shut up fast enough as the music begins, either due to enthusiastic ad-libs or an overly long script. One highlight of this show is the recent return of clarinetist/alto saxophonist Russell Procope, who had just been discharged from military service. The program begins with two contributions by Ellington sidemen, Jimmy Hamilton's “Ultra Blue" and trumpeter Cat Anderson's “Teardrops in the Rain" (co-written with Ellington). There are a number of pieces that became hits, including “Subtle Slough" (later retitled “Just Squeeze Me" after lyrics were added) and the exotic “Caravan," the latter which had been in the book for some time, though this arrangement showcases Harry Carney's sonorous baritone sax. One of the treats within this broadcast is the eight-plus-minute workout of “Perdido" that showcases the brass sections. Hodges' dreamy tone is showcased in the ballad “Homesick, That's All." The audio on both discs has been beautifully remastered by Jerry Valburn, while there is plenty of hope that Storyville will continue this historic and valuable series.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 0:41
2 5:02
3 3:32
5 4:12
6 0:49
7 4:05
8 3:32
9 4:40
10 3:36
12 3:04
13 3:11
14 3:12
15 2:04
16 0:50
17 10:26
18 2:58
20 0:15
21 4:06
22 3:57
23 2:37
24 2:40
25 0:09

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 0:45
2 3:01
3 3:42
4 3:29
5 3:31
6 0:46
7 2:31
8 2:51
10 3:46
11 4:03
12 8:46
13 5:32
14 0:11
15 0:32
16 2:31
17 2:04
19 3:52
20 3:36
21 4:07
22 3:46
24 3:54
25 2:49
26 0:51
blue highlight denotes track pick