In May-June 1951, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra could be heard at Birdland during two periods: May 3 to May 9 and June 21 to June 30. We have earlier presented music from two broadcasts, those of June 23 and June 30, but two more remain in existance, namely one originally thought to be from late June and one from early May. DESS members will now have the opportunity to listen to music from the undated June broadcast (NDESOR 5121) which has now been established to have taken place at Birdland on May 5. Just go to the Goodies Room and listen/download. The following tunes are played (mixed origin):*Take The A Train & intro 1*VIP Boogie/Jam With Sam*Frustration*Sultry Serenade*Sophisticated Lady*Take The A Train & intro 2*Just A_Sittin’ And A-Rockin’*Air-Conditioned Jungle*Coloratura*Solitude*Skin Deep*Perdido*Take The A Train & bc close*
All items above, except for Take The A Train 1,2 and bc close, were issued on Alto AL-710 in 1974, as “He’s Mr Edward Kennedy ‘Duke’ Ellington”, a fairly rare LP.
This is one of the first occasions of “Threesome” being played, but in this case only VIP’s Boogie and Jam With Sam, a new number for the 1951 season, and something that would be heard many times ever after. For Jam With Sam, which is primarily used by Duke to present his solists, a familiar musical pattern is already set (e.g. Russel Procope’s solo). The opening fanfare is played by Harold Baker. The following two numbers are solo pieces for Harry Carney (Frustration) and Britt Woodman (Sultry Serenade), both very well performed. The next tune is Sophisticated Lady, which later on would be developed into a solo vehicle for Harry Carney, but in this case the main soloists are Willie Smith on alto and Harold Baker on trumpet and to a lesser extent Jimmy Hamilton on clarinet. Next, Ellingon announces Just A-Sittin’ And A Rockin’ and Ray Nance on vocal, with solos by Paul Gonsalves and Quentin Jackson. The following two numbers are solo pieces for Jimmy Hamilton in Air-Conditioned Jungle and Cat Anderson in Coloratura (from the Perfume Suite). Al Hibbler sings Solitude, which also features Harry Carney and a trombone trio. Louie Bellson’s Skin Deep is now heard for the first time on record and thereafter the broadcast is brought to and end with an interesting rendition of Perdido with Nelson Williams playing a trumpet intro and then 16 bars with the band. All the trumpet players (Wiliams, Nance, Baker and Anderson) as well as Britt Woodman are heard playing solo, which makes an interesting comparison with later versions, where Clark Terry and Rolf Ericson had solo roles.