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Celebrating the return of Cootie Williams


After almost 22 years of absence, on 12 September 1962, Cootie Williams returned to the Ellington band.  Ellington was then back to New York after some touring along the east coast. Cootie’s return seems to have already been arranged by that time because a new piece was ready for him on his first day with the band.

He replaced Bill Berry, who had been in the trumpet section since December 1961. Possibly Berry left to make room for Williams.

The new piece was “Tutti for Cootie”, which was to become a concert feature for Cootie Williams, often performed together with “Concerto for Cootie”. The song was composed by Ellington and Jimmy Hamilton.

Cootie’s first reappearance with the Ellington band was a two-day “stockpile” recording session on 12-13 September, 1962. “Tutti for Cootie” was the first piece to be recorded and there seems to have been only one take.


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