Benny Goodman – Featuring Peggy Lee (1993)

FrontCover1.jpgWhen Peggy Lee made her first recording with Benny Goodman’s orchestra, she was 19 and scared to death. The result, “Elmer’s Tune,” is one she probably wished were lost, but the other 15 recordings on this CD (all from 1941) find her improving month by month, struggling gamely through the difficult Eddie Sauter and Mel Powell arrangements. Many of these titles were formerly rare and offer an interesting look at the early Peggy Lee. (by Scott Yanow)

Just as Benny Goodman was enjoying another triumphant year in 1941, The King Of Swing attended a nightclub in Chicago when he saw a young jazz vocalist singing in a vocal group, and it was during this engagement she was hired by the bandleader to sing at the Ambassador West Hotel and the College Inn as this encounter resulted in a series of record dates from Goodman and Lee for Columbia Records. Presented in it’s own exclusive 78 set later that year, Benny Goodman Feat’ Peggy Lee bring to us a starting point for this talented young jazz vocalist who got shot to stardom with a lively set of superb songs that she performs in upbeat style after being welcomed into Goodman’s orchestra after one of it’s lead band singers, Helen Forest, had left where she took her place.


Beginning with there first class version of the Glenn Miller classic Elmer’s Tune, which was a huge success, the track set proceeds with great harmonic excellence on other classic jazz standards that include That’s The Way it Goes, Duke Ellington’s I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good, Shady Lady, the rousing Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, Winter Weather and Not Mine, as well as snappy takes of classic pop standards that include My Old Flame, How Deep Is The Ocean? and Everything I Love until ending with the final track Not A Care In The World. Just as Goodman was enjoying another triumphant year in 1941, Benny Goodman Feat’ Peggy Lee became another milestone achievement for The King Of Swing and Lee’s rise to national fame that would result into a highly successful and prolific music career for this master jazz vocalist, which makes this full recorded session (78 set) a landmark from jazz history. (by RH,


George Berg (saxophone)
Billy Butterfield (trumpet)
Big Sid Catlett (drums)
Ralph Collier (drums)
Cutty Cutshall (trombone)
Alvin Davis (trumpet)
Joe Ferrante (trumpet)
Chuck Gentry (saxophone)
Benny Goodman (clarinet)
Sol Kane (saxophone)
Peggy Lee (vocals)
Art Lund (vocals)
Skip Martin (saxophone)
Jimmy Maxwell (trumpet)
Lou McGarity (trombone)
Tom Morgan (guitar)
Vido Musso (saxophone)
Clint Neagley (saxophone)
Mel Powell (piano)
Bernie Privin (trumpet)
Julie Schwartz (saxophone)
John Simmons (bass)
Morty Stuhlmaker (drums, bass)
Sid Weiss (bass)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)


01. Elmer’s Tune (Albrecht/Gallop/Jurgens) 2.53
02. I See A Million People (But All I Can See Is You) (Carlisle/Sour) 2.45
03. That’s the Way It Goes (Robin/Alex Wilder/Alexander Wilder) 3.10
04. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 3.17
05. My Old Flame (Coslow/Johnston) 3.09
06. How Deep Is the Ocean? (Berlin) 3.07
07. Shady Lady Bird (Blane/Martin) 2.47
08. Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) (Porter) 2.03
09. Somebody Else Is Taking My Place (Ellsworth/Howard/Morgan) 3.11
10. Somebody Nobody Loves (Miller) 3.23
11. How Long Has This Been Going On? (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 3.17
12. That Did It, Marie (Higginbotham) 3.13
13. Winter Weather (Shapiro) 3.03
14. Ev’rything I Love (Porter) 3.06
15. Not Mine (Mercer/Schertzinger) 3.20
16. Not A Care In The World (Duke/Latouche) 3.22



Duke Ellington – Jumpin´ Punkins (1965)


Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.

Born in Washington, D.C., Ellington was based in New York City from the mid-1920s onward and gained a national profile through his orchestra’s appearances at the Cotton Club in Harlem. In the 1930s, his orchestra toured in Europe. Although widely considered to have been a pivotal figure in the history of jazz, Ellington embraced the phrase “beyond category” as a liberating principle and referred to his music as part of the more general category of American Music rather than to a musical genre such as jazz.

Some of the jazz musicians who were members of Ellington’s orchestra, such as saxophonist Johnny Hodges, are considered to be among the best players in the idiom. Ellington melded them into the best-known orchestral unit in the history of jazz. Some members stayed with the orchestra for several decades. A master at writing miniatures for the three-minute 78 rpm recording format, Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions; his extensive body of work is the largest recorded personal jazz legacy, with many of his pieces having become standards. Ellington also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, for example Juan Tizol’s “Caravan”, and “Perdido”, which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. In the early 1940s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his writing and arranging companion. With Strayhorn, he composed many extended compositions, or suites, as well as additional short pieces. Following an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival, in July 1956, Ellington and his orchestra enjoyed a major revival and embarked on world tours. Ellington recorded for most American record companies of his era, performed in several films, scored several, and composed a handful of stage musicals.


Ellington was noted for his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and for his eloquence and charisma. His reputation continued to rise after he died, and he was awarded a posthumous Pulitzer Prize Special Award for music in 1999. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a fine sampler from his early to mid-1940s period. We hear “16 rare sides from his 1940/1941 band” …

And it´s another chance to hear all these charming Big Band tunes from one of the geatest Jazz musicians of the last century.

My copy is from Italy … so all the liner notes are in Italian.


Original US front + back cover

Ivie Anderson (vocals)
Barney Bigard (saxophone, clarinet)
Jimmy Blanton (bass)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Harry Carney (saxophone, clarinet)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Sonny Greer (drums)
Fred Guy (guitar)
Otto Hardwick (saxophone, clarinet)
Johnny Hodges (saxophone)
Wallace Jones (trumpet)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin, vocals)
Joe Nanton (trombone)
Rex Stewart (cornet)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Juan Tizol (trombone)
Ben Webster (saxophone)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)


01. Conga Brava (Ellington/Tizol) 2.55
02. Me And You (Ellington) 2.52
03. Dusk (Ellington) 3.13
04. Blue Goose (Ellington) 3.18
05. Five O’ Clock Whistle (Gannon/Myrow/Irwin) 3.15
06. The Sidewalks Of New York (Lawlor/Blake) 3.10
07. After All (Strayhorn) 3.16
08. John Hardy’s Wife (Ellington) 3.23
09. Jumpin’ Punkins (Mercer/Ellington) 3.41
10. Are You Sticking ? (Ellington) 3.04
11. The Giddy Bug Gallop (Ellington) 3.29
12. Chocolate Shake (Webster/Ellington) 2.53
13. Clementine (Strayhorn) 2.58
14. Jump For Joy (Webster/Ellington/Kuller) 2.53
15. Bli-Blip (Kuller/Ellington) 3.03
16. Five O’ Clock Drag (Ellington) 3.09




“Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974)

Duke Ellington & His Orchestra – In A Mellotone (1972)

FrontCover1This LP from 1972 is a straight reissue of an RCA album from the early ’60s.

Comprised of 16 performances by Duke Ellington’s Orchestra during what many consider to be his peak period, the program is highlighted by such classics as the original version of “Take the ‘A’ Train,” “Just A-Settin’ and A-Rockin’,” “I Got It Bad,” “Perdido,” “Cotton Tail” and “All Too Soon.”

With such soloists as trumpeter Cootie Williams (who was replaced by Ray Nance) and Rex Stewart, trombonists Tricky Sam Nanton and DukeEllington1940Lawrence Brown, altoist Johnny Hodges, clarinetist Barney Bigard, Ben Webster on tenor, baritonist Harry Carney and the innovative bassist Jimmy Blanton (in addition to the leader/pianist), this was one of the all-time great orchestras.

Ellington’s recordings are available in more complete form elsewhere but this is a strong sampling. (by Scott Yanow)



Ivie Anderson (vocals)
Barney Bigard (clarinet)
Jimmy Blanton (bass)
Lawrence Brown (trombone)
Harry Carney (clarinet, saxophone)
Duke Ellington (piano)
Sonny Greer (drums)
Fred Guy (guitar)
Otto Hardwick (saxophone)
Johnny Hodges (clarinet, saxophone)
Herb Jeffries (vocals)
Wallace Jones (trumpet)
Ray Nance (trumpet, violin)
Joe “Tricky Sam” Nanton (trombone)
Junior Raglin (bass)
Rex Stewart (cornet)
Billy Strayhorn (piano)
Juan Tizol (trombone)
Cootie Williams (trumpet)

Ad1940Ad for Duke Ellington’s first Vancouver show. Vancouver Sun, 15 April 1940

01. Take the “A” Train (Strayhorn) 2.577
02. A Portrait Of Bert Williams (Elli9ngton) 3.14
03. Main Stem (Ellington) 2.52
04. Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’ (Ellington/Gaines/Strayhorn) 3.37
05. I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (Ellington/Webster) 3.21
06. Perdido (Drake/Lengsfelder/Tizol) 3.12
07. Blue Serge (Mercer/Ellington) 3.24
08. The Flaming Sword (Ellington) 3.10
09. In A Mellow Tone (Ellington/Gabler) 3.21
10. Cotton Tail (Ellington) 3.14
11. I Don’t Know What Kind Of Blues I Got (Ellington) 3.17
12. Rumpus In Richmond (Ellington) 2.51
13. All Too Soon (Ellington/Sigman) 3.33
14. Sepia Panorama (Ellington/Strayhorn) 3.27
15. Rocks In My Bed (Ellington) 3.10
16. What Am I Here For? (Ellington/Laine) 3.25