Brown Betty Duke Ellington’s broadcast from the Meadowbrook on June 8, 1951 is now available for downloading for the DESS members. Click on the arrow above and listen to a fine sample from this broadcast. You’ll find the complete broadcast in the Goodies Room. The whole band really sounds great on these old recordings, one fine example being some splendid trumpet playing on Brown Betty by Nelson “Cadillac” Williams. This was his feature number with the band at this time and it is a performance that sticks in people’s memory. It was written by Billy Strayhorn originally with Johnny Hodges as the main soloist. Harry Carney’s powerful interpretation of the bridge is also memorable.After the theme & intro the Band plays How High The Moon, which was first recorded by Ellington in 1947. There are some fine solos by Paul Gonsalves, Harold Baker, Jimmy Hamilton, Quentin Jackson (without a mute) and Harry Carney. This is followed by Brown Betty and S’Posin’ sung by Al Hibbler, soon developing into a trad-jazz party before Harry Carney again demonstrates his powerful baritone style in Frustration. This  really was his tour de force, but was played rather sparingly throughout his mid and late carriere with Ellington. Next, “Floor Show”  (Ray Nance), is the unimitable soloist in what Ellington terms as his “very extra special Friday version of the world’s greatest Saturday night song”, St. Louis Blues. Primping At The Prom has Paul Gonsalves as the only soloist, whereas Swamp Drum, written by Billy Strayhorn, is a solo vehicle for Willie Smith. There are only three known surviving recordings of this tune, all from May-June 1951, the only comercially issued recording was on Mercer Records on May 18. The final number of the broadcast is Perdido with a number of solos by the brass players, Williams, Nance, Baker and Woodman.We sincerely hope that you will enjoy listening to this broadcast.


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