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duaneiac

Ellington songs you feel should be better known

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With so many compositions to his credit and with so many of them having been actual "hits", it's kind of easy for many very good songs he wrote to get overlooked.  Do you have a favorite semi-obscure Ellington work you would like to hear played more often?  Share it with us here.  One of my favorites is "The Lonely Ones"

I love everything about that number.  It swings like mad.  Ellington's piano accents are so cool.  Milt Grayson's voice was perfect for this song.  Give it perhaps a little stronger ending and it would have been a heckuva jukebox 45, back in 1962.

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Does "Morning Glory" count?

 

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16 minutes ago, Matthew said:

Does "Morning Glory" count?

 

Excellent choice!  That one made me feel better just listening to it.  Thanks, Matthew! 

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Don't you know I care? That bridge....

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Great topic--this has been on my Night Lights drawing board for some time, actually, after I did a day-show broadcast several years ago along the same lines.  Title is "I Didn't Know About You:  The Lesser-Heard Ellington Songbook."  Had it tentatively slotted for next April around the time of Duke's birthday, but this discussion may inspire me to move it up.

 

Johnny Hodges small-group version with Mary McHugh on vocals:

 

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'Azalea' from the summit with Pops.  :wub:

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Old Man Blues

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Not a typical Ellington tune, but I’ve always loved the impressionistic “Reflections in D” from his 1953 piano trio date. And to the best of my knowledge, Ellington never recorded it again (isn’t that right??).

Bill Evans remade it in 1978, and the tune suits him very well indeed.

And a live version by Evans in ‘78.

 

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How about "Brown Betty"?

An obscure tune featuring an obscure trumpet soloist, Nelson Williams.  ... But it soars!

 

2 hours ago, Justin V said:

'Azalea' from the summit with Pops.  :wub:

Yes. :tup

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Posted (edited)

Three pieces from late in his career come to mind (the first two very late).

"Something" from The Goutelas Suite--a beautiful ballad.

"Loco Madi" from The Uwis Suite--perhaps the last of his train pieces and quite enjoyable.

I will include "Fleurette Africaine'" as well.  What a masterpiece from The Money Jungle.  I don't know of Duke ever doing it with a larger ensemble.  James Newton's version is also a thing of beauty.  

Edited by Milestones

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I listened to Dr. John's Duke Elegant CD recently and was pleased to see the inclusion of "The Flaming Sword" on that disc.  While it is not exactly an obscure tune, it's not one that has been frequently covered by others and should perhaps be better known.  The original is such a delight.  To me it is like a funhouse ride, with new delights around every corner.  A grin appears on my face at the beginning when the band lays down that Latin rhythm and my smile just grows and grows throughout the song right until the end when Duke holds that final note.  The section work is superb.

And here is Dr. John's version.  Very different, but still very groovy.

 

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This thread has made me think of "In the Beginning. . . God." Once last year and once this year my brother performed this song acapella at church services. He knocked it out of the park, especially the second time. I knew he could sing but. . . man oh man he did this difficult piece justice.

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"Black Beauty" (dedicated to the late Florence Mills) -- the solemn tap dancing here is elegiac, even funeral, no?
 


Also...

"What Am I Here For?"

 

And "The Sergeant Was Shy" -- though it's not  a song at all but a fullblown composition, like "Ko Ko."

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I've always enjoyed this tune.  Lyrics by Mack David.  Nothing deep or insightful about it -- it's just a fun and flirty song.  Since Ms. Russell's version was what brought this song back to my attention, I thought it appropriate to feature it here.

 

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