| Jazz Icons: Duke Ellington provides an epic 95-minute overview of a true giant of 20th-century music. This DVD captures the 1958 Duke Ellington Orchestra at its very best. And they feel it. See the musicians’ smiles. Ray Nance’s ecstatic expression with his violin, as he dances. “Butter” smiling every time he lifts his horn. Carney exuberant in his chair. Woodyard grinning at his drums. Except for the dour Hodges? No. After the DVD credits finish, we get to watch the band pack up and disperse. Look carefully—before he leaves the stage, the camera catches Johnny Hodges smiling!
Liner notes by Patricia Willard
Foreword by Edward Kenndy Ellington II
Cover photo by Lee Tanner
Booklet photos by Duncan Schiedt, Lee Tanner, Riccardo Schwamenthal, Ray Avery, Susanne Schapowalow
2 memorabilia collages
Total time: 80 minutes
Forward: My name is Edward Kennedy Ellington II, and Duke Ellington is my grandfather. So much for all my positive qualities.
During my life, there have been numerous attempts, by friends and family, to show me the proper path. Unfortunately, their noble endeavors have rendered mixed results.
Two lessons by my grandfather come to mind.
Once, while performing at the Rainbow Room in Manhattan, Ellington discovered the band lacked one musician for the union mandate. He immediately told me to borrow one of my father Mercer’s trumpets and sit next to Cootie Williams in the trumpet section.
The euphoria of actually being in the Duke Ellington Band was so overwhelming that I began to believe I could actually play. As I raised the trumpet to my lips, Cootie said, “If you play one note, you’ll be dead before it’s heard.”
Johnny Hodges (Alto Sax
Russell Procope (Alto Sax, Clarinet)
Paul Gonsalves (Tenor Sax)
Jimmy Hamilton (Tenor Sax, Clarinet)
Harry Carney (Baritone Sax, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet)
Harold “Shorty” Baker
Ray Nance (Trumpet, Violin, Vocal)
John Sanders (Valve Trombone)
Duke Ellington (Piano)
Jimmy Woode (Bass)
Sam Woodyard (Drums)
Ozzie Bailey (Vocal)