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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke

"..and his mother called him Bill"
Duke Ellington & His Orchestra
Billy Strayhorn Compositions
RCAVICTOR 74321851512

Trumpets – Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson, Mercer Ellington, Herbie Jones, Clark Terry (Flugel)
Trombones – Lawrence Brown, Buster Cooper, Chuck Connors
Clarinet – Jimmy Hamilton
Saxes - Johnny Hodges, Russell Precope, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney
Piano - Duke Ellington.
Bass – Aaron Bell
Drums – Sam Woodyard


  1. Snibor
  2. Boo-Dah
  3. Blood Count
  4. U.M.M.G.
  5. Charpoy
  6. After All
  7. The Intimacy of the Blues
  8. Raincheck
  9. Day-Dream
  10. Rock Skippin’ at the Blue Note
  11. All Day long
  12. Lotus Blossom
  13. Acht O’clock Rock
  14. Raincheck
  15. Smada
  16. Smada
  17. Midriff
  18. My Little Brown Book
  19. Lotus Blossom

How I came to miss out on this music when it was first released on LP, I don’t know, but I am ever so grateful to have it in my collection now. It was made in 1967 as a tribute to the then recently deceased Billy Strayhorn. Billy or ‘Sweet Pea’ as he was known, was nearly as influential on the Ellington Band as the leader himself. Even the signature tune, ‘Take the A Train’, was a Strayhorn composition although that one is not included in this collection.

If anyone is in any doubt as to just what a great orchestra Ellington had assembled at that time and just how excellent a composer and arranger Strayhorn was, should hear this record, which demonstrates both facts beyond doubt

Both Ellington and Strayhorn wrote their music with the current band members in mind, those who followed had to sort that out for themselves, most stayed however for relatively long periods of time. This band is full of star musicians, Johnny Hodges, Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney and Jimmy Hamilton are all musicians with individual style and tone which makes them instantly recognisable.

There are two versions of Lotus Blossom, a solo version and a trio version, the Duke being featured on both. It was the tune Strayhorn most liked to hear the Duke play. Strayhorn’s arrangements have stood the test of time brilliantly, if you listen to the big band arrangers of to-day, many of the sounds they use were already in use by him in the 1960’s and before.

Take my tip – Order this, it is essential music for the serious jazz collector.

As the Duke said in a Eulogy he wrote in 1967 "God Bless Billy Strayhorn"


Don Mather




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