parlando playlist #74: cootie williams and his orchestra - echoes of harlem [1946]

Posted on November 29th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Music, Parlando Playlist.

Trumpeter Cootie Williams played with Duke Ellington early in his career (1929-1940) and late (1962-1974). When he left Duke, with Duke's blessing, he played with Benny Goodman for a year, and then he formed his own band. In 1944, he recorded under Cootie Williams and His Orchestra, mostly up to fifteen to sixteen musicians, but also he led a sextet through eight songs (also called Cootie Williams and His Orchestra): Cootie Williams (trumpet), Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (alto sax), Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor sax), Norman Keenan (bass), Sylvester "Vess" Payne (drums), and the recording debut of Bud Powell (piano).

This sextet was recorded in 1944 (four songs on January 4, four songs on January 6). "Echoes of Harlem" was a Capitol single, as far as I know issued in 1946. It was written by Duke Ellington for Cootie Williams, when Williams was still in the band.
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2 comments.

Gavin

Comment on January 2nd, 2014.

Well, that's just gorgeous.

You might be interested the new Terry Teachout biography of Ellington, which Adam Gopnik reviewed recently in the New Yorker
http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2013/12/23/131223crat_atlarge_gopnik
(that's a pointer to help you track it down, because the whole review isn't available online to nonsubscribers).

Apparently Ellington wrote less of his music than was generally realized (i.e., he took unfinished efforts by people in his band and polished them into the works we know today). Gopnik's essay is an interesting consideration of how much that matters (less than one might expect, he contends).

Scraps

Comment on January 3rd, 2014.

Thank you! I'll look it up.

I know Ellington and his band were sometimes a collaboration; in fact, lots of times they explicitly shared writing ("Caravan" was Duke and Juan Tizol, "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" was Mercer Ellington solo, etc). But maybe the band was even more a collaboration than that. I'll always read a Duke Ellington piece with interest. Anyway, I've never heard of a member of his band, say, accusing him of ripping them off.

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