In the Goodies Room, you will find the first 40 minutes from Duke Ellington’s 1947 Carnegie Hall concert. This is the first part of the first concert which took place on December 26, 1947. The second concert which is dated December 27 has been issued on Prestige P-24075, whereas the 1st concert has remained unissued.
Billy Strayhorn’s Midriff
The concert had been planned for two consecutive nights at Carnegie Hall, 26 & 27 December 1947. The songs presented here are:
*Star Spangled Banner*Snibor (AKA The New Look)*Blue Serge*Midriff*Triple Play*He Makes Me Believe He’s Mine*Harlem Air Shaft* Mella Brava and* Kickapoo Joy Juice.
This concert was very poorly attended, due to the fact that New York City was paralyzed by one of the worst blizzards it had ever experienced. This had the effect that the musicians had difficulties in travelling to the concert site and that all their equipment did not arrive in time for the concert. They managed to bring their instruments, but in the recording we can hear Duke apologizing for their casual dress, where they normally would wear band uniforms. There were also problems with the sonic balance for the recording equipment.
As was customary at the Carnegie Hall concerts, the event starts with the National Anthem. Ellington, next, introduces the Billy Strayhorn composition The New Look, which later on became known as Snibor. The latter name is a word-play referring to Duke’s publisher Robbins Music. Blue Serge, which is a Mercer Ellington tune, comes next. If you listen carefully, you will maybe get the impression that Duke also attributes this number to Strayhorn, which wouldn’t really seem incredible. Anyhow, the next number is Midriff, one of his best compositions. Triple Play is an interesting new number, also by Strayhorn, which mainly features Johnny Hodges and which is not common in the Ellington repertoire. Next, Dolores Parker sings He Makes Me Believe He Is Mine, by Ellington/Latouche. She is omitted from the Prestige issue from the next evening, which is a pity, because she was a good singer who passed away just a few months ago. Harlem Air Shaft is played next, needs no introduction, before our part ends with Mella Brava, another seldom played Ellington composition and Kickapoy Joy Juice, the former a solo piece for Harry Carney and the latter featuring Jimmy Hamilton.
To be continued…..