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  • mistermuse 12:00 am on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Big Bands, , , , , , Sophisticated Lady   

    THE DUKE AND THE COUNT 

    Contrary to what the above title may suggest, this post is not a narrative of two nabobs of European nobility in medieval times. Rather, it’s about two giants of jazz royalty in Big Band-era America: one whose birthday, and the other whose expiration day, occurred last week. I refer to Duke Ellington (born 4/29/1899) and Count Basie (died 4/26/1984).

    If you’re of a certain age, no doubt you’ve heard of them, but unless you’re a pre-rock jazz buff, that’s probably the extent of it. Permit me, then, to introduce you to these musical titans of yesteryear, and to a sampling of their legacy.  After all, it’s not every day that you get to meet a Duke and a Count.

    I could get carried away with all there is to say about the former, but in the interest of not getting carried away, I will confine my remarks mainly to this quote:

    Ellington has often credited his sidemen with the success of his band. But those who knew Duke and his music best — and this includes those very sidemen — will invariably tell you that what set Ellington’s apart is just one thing: the brilliant conductor-composer-arranger-pianist-bon vivant and leader of men, Duke Ellington himself. –George Simon (from his book, THE BIG BANDS)

    Here are two of the Duke’s many compositions, the first from the 1930 film CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK, and the second from a European tour decades later:

    Let us now turn to that other distinguished composer-pianist-band leader, Count Basie, whose talents weren’t as multifaceted as the Duke, but whose orchestra likewise outlasted the end of the Big Band era. Quoting George Simon one more time:

    For several years [after] the days of the big bands, Basie didn’t do well, and he was forced to cut down his group to a sextet. But then he made a comeback and, aided greatly by support from Frank Sinatra, who helped him get lucrative bookings in Las Vegas and appeared with him in a series of successful concerts, the Basie band [again] rode high. 

     Let’s jump to a conclusion with this swinging rendition (especially the last seventy seconds) of Basie’s own composition and theme song:

     
    • calmkate 12:15 am on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      wow wow wow … two royal heroes of mine, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

    • GP Cox 6:42 am on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      They help represent an era of outstanding music!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 9:39 am on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Had quite the jazz collection myself in my misspent youth, Sr. Muse, because it was my favorite music to listen to when I was completely baked on hashish. Nowadays not so much, but with cannabis legal here in CA, who knows? I may rebuild it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:28 pm on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        I have so many records in my collection that I’m beginning to think I overdid it, Ricardo, so my advice (if you “rebuild”) is Don’t get carried away, or when they carry you away, you’ll leave your heirs to decide the collection’s fate (which will probably be the trash bin).

        Like

    • Carmen 3:42 pm on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Just lovely tunes!! You have exquisite taste in music! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 4:36 pm on April 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Carmen, if you think I have excellent taste in music, you should see my pet rock collection. It rocks! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:51 am on May 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’m pretty sure everyone whether they realize it or not everyone is very familiar with the music these men created, even if they don’t realize where it comes from. That’s how ingrained in our culture it is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:12 am on May 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I hope you’re right, Don. We all need to know where we came from, if for no other reason than to realize that everything is built on a foundation of what was there before us.

      Like

    • milliethom 2:20 pm on May 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I’m certainly of ‘a certain age’ (meaning getting a bit long in the tooth) Mr M, and had certainly heard of these two musicians and some of their pieces. But I hadn’t realised just how talented they both were, so it was interesting to find out a little more about them here. Great choice of videos.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 3:49 pm on May 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Millie. I think you can tell how much Duke Ellington loved his craft by the title of his autobiography: MUSIC IS MY MISTRESS. Count Basie’s autobio, on the other hand, bore the title of one of his hit records:

        Like

    • ComputerBook 5:50 am on May 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      ! I think you can tell how much Duke Ellington loved his craft by the title of his autobiography: MUSIC IS MY MISTRESS.

      Liked by 1 person

    • geo. raymond 1:46 am on May 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      In ’83 Count Basie did a show at my school & I didn’t go. That is something I will just have to live with.

      Liked by 1 person

    • barkinginthedark 12:35 am on May 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      2 giants! continue…

      Liked by 1 person

    • MG WELLS 6:13 pm on July 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Love the DUKE and your blog. Something for everyone. Enjoy and best wishes to you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 11:50 pm on July 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, and all good wishes to you as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Big Bands, , EMBRACEABLE YOU, George Gershwin, , , , , , , , Paul Whiteman, Rhapsody In Blue, Roaring 20s, theme songs, ,   

    ALLEY BABBLE AND THE FORTY THEMES 

    As we have noted, out of the cacophony and babble of pre-WWI Tin Pan Alley came the Roaring Twenties and the Jazz Age (not to mention Prohibition, 1920-33). If any one song could be said to capture the pulse (and become the anthem) of this dynamic cultural shift, it has to be George Gershwin’s RHAPSODY IN BLUE, written in 1924 and heard (in part) here at the outset of Woody Allen’s paean of a movie to a place called MANHATTAN:

    RHAPSODY IN BLUE was commissioned by band leader Paul Whiteman and introduced to the world by his orchestra (with Gershwin himself at the piano) at NYC’s Aeolian Hall on Feb. 12, 1924. It subsequently served as Whiteman’s theme song — theme songs being a virtual prerequisite for big bands and dance bands of the 1930s. One ‘whiff’ of a familiar opening theme song immediately identified a band to radio listeners, and set the stage for a band’s performances at ballrooms, dance halls and other venues wherever they played.

    There were literally hundreds of bands big and small, sweet and swing, hot and not, in the decade leading up to WW II. Of these, I’ll list 40 whose theme songs were (in my opinion) well chosen or well known, followed by your match-the-band-with-the-theme-song quiz (just kidding; that would be like s’posin’* I could match today’s artists with their hit songs — forgeddabouddit!). So just rest easy and enjoy the clips of a few selections from the list.

    Louis Armstrong — WHEN IT’S SLEEPY TIME DOWN SOUTH
    Gus Arnheim — SWEET AND LOVELY
    Count Basie — ONE O’CLOCK JUMP
    Bunny Berrigan — I CAN’T GET STARTED
    Lou Breese — BREEZIN’ ALONG WITH THE BREEZE
    Willie Bryant — IT’S OVER BECAUSE WE’RE THROUGH
    Billy Butterfield — WHAT’S NEW?
    Cab Calloway — MINNIE THE MOOCHER
    Benny Carter — MELANCHOLY LULLABY
    Tommy Dorsey — I’M GETTING SENTIMENTAL OVER YOU
    Sonny Dunham — MEMORIES OF YOU

    Duke Ellington — TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN
    Skinnay Ennis — GOT A DATE WITH AN ANGEL
    Ted Fio Rito — RIO RITA
    Benny Goodman — LET’S DANCE
    Glen Gray — SMOKE RINGS
    Johnny Green — HELLO, MY LOVER, GOODBYE
    Bobby Hackett — EMBRACEABLE YOU

    George Hall — LOVE LETTERS IN THE SAND
    Lionel Hampton — FLYIN’ HOME
    Coleman Hawkins — BODY AND SOUL
    Ina Ray Hutton — GOTTA HAVE YOUR LOVE
    Jack Hylton — SHE SHALL HAVE MUSIC
    Harry James — CIRIBIRIBIN
    Art Jarrett — EVERYTHING’S BEEN DONE BEFORE
    Isham Jones — YOU’RE JUST A DREAM COME TRUE
    Dick Jurgens — DAY DREAMS COME TRUE AT NIGHT
    Ted Lewis — WHEN MY BABY SMILES AT ME
    Little Jack Little — LITTLE BY LITTLE
    Guy Lombardo — AULD LANG SYNE
    Wingy Manone — ISLE OF CAPRI
    Johnny Messner — CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS
    Eddie Miller — LAZY MOOD (sung here by Johnny Mercer with Eddie Miller’s band)

    Glenn Miller — MOONLIGHT SERENADE
    Lucky Millender — RIDE, RED, RIDE
    Vaughn Monroe — RACING WITH THE MOON
    Leo Reisman — WHAT IS THIS THING CALLED LOVE?
    Buddy Rogers — MY BUDDY
    Jack Teagarden — I GOTTA RIGHT TO SING THE BLUES
    Fred Waring — SLEEP

    • * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    • S’POSIN’ was a 1929 hit song; it is, of course, a ‘traction (contraction) of SUPPOSING

     

     
    • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC 12:59 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A bittersweet stroll through the streets of MY town, no offense to Woody – no matter where I find myself subsequently.

      I fondly recall memories from so many of the places in the first video:
      the Empire Diner, Lincoln Center, the garment district, riding the tram to Roosevelt Island one particularly romantic date night, Radio City (especially their Christmas spectacular, complete with live camels and donkeys), Washington Square Park, the Fulton Fish Market (that turned into practically a lower Manhattan theme park for yuppies from the financial district), a million storefronts that made shopping almost a small town pleasure, the wonder of fireworks over the metropolis every 4th of July and New Year’s Eve — and views of the skyline that brought tears to my eyes.

      The Lester Lanin Orchestra was alive and kicking during my 20 years there, bringing back the golden days of an earlier time when folks danced to Big Bands non-stop and cheek to cheek – tho’ mostly to upper class events, debutante balls and fund-raising spectaculars like Night of a Thousand Stars.

      OH how I miss it! Thanks for bringing this post to my attention. I added a link here in my response to your comment, so that others might easily jump over to read. If you write other posts related to my content, I will approve your link – so leave us one, okay?
      xx,
      mgh
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
      – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
      “It takes a village to educate a world!”

      Liked by 3 people

    • mistermuse 5:23 pm on November 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for taking time to share your Manhattan memories. I’ve never been a big fan of society orchestras, but I believe Lester Lanin was considered the most successful of yesteryear’s society bandleaders. His brother, Howard Lanin, also led a band which played top society dates. Another popular society orchestra was that of Emil Coleman, who played at the Waldorf-Astoria for years.

      Thanks also for the link to my post and the invitation to post future links if related to your content. I will try to keep that offer in my “Memories of You.” 🙂

      Like

    • linnetmoss 7:10 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I had forgotten about that ravishing beginning to the Woody Allen film “Manhattan.” I’ve got a compilation CD set of music from his films- some of the best music you’ll ever hear! Including a few of these “sweet” bands.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:16 am on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I think of sweet bands apart from the society orchestras I mentioned in my previous comment, although I suppose it could be considered a distinction without a difference, as they say. Actually I have a fair number of 78 rpm records of sweet bands in my collection, including Guy Lombardo and Jan Garber. Some of the old sweet bands started out on the hot side but evolved into sweet bands in order to survive.

      As for the music from Woody Allen films, I couldn’t agree more!

      Like

    • arekhill1 12:54 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I heard a story about Minnie the Moocher once. To the best of my recollection, she was a low-down hootchie-coocher.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:01 pm on November 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      ….and she had to take a Cab to get anywhere. And where did she go? She went thataway, Calloway! But enough of my pun-nonsense — here’s Minnie:

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 7:56 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The first one I thought of was Bob Hope and thanks for the memories but everyone used to have a theme song. And, who doesn’t want one?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:48 am on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I definitely would’ve included Bob Hope and his theme song in the list if he had a band….but your question got me to thinking what I would choose for a theme song, and I think this one pretty much says it for me:

        Like

    • literaryeyes 4:57 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Manhattan memories come back to me often. When I lived near Broadway and Times Square, I’d walk through and think of the Roaring 20s and Damon Runyon, Mae West, Lindy’s, and feel that vibe. I’d sense the notes of that time were still there, echoing down Shubert and Tin Pan Alley.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:00 pm on November 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that evocative comment. Your “Manhattan memories” suggest to me another Gershwin tune for YOUR theme song: “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” 🙂

      Like

    • moorezart 8:21 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 10:17 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you. I attempted to reblog your latest post from your ART OF QUOTATION blog, but my computer/internet skills are woefully inadequate, and after doing the best I could, it didn’t appear the way I intended. Since I’m not up to the task of getting it right, I will delete the reblog of your post with my apologies.

        Liked by 1 person

        • moorezart 12:30 am on November 30, 2016 Permalink

          No problem and I understand. Sorry for the technical difficulties. I’ve actually had similar issues at times. when reblogged from ArtofQuotation it SHOULD have worked. But I think the reblog feature on my personal artist blog Moorezart.Wordpress is turned off. In any event I’m glad you liked the post. Also I just wanted to let you know I greatly enjoy reading your blog! – Douglas

          Liked by 1 person

    • moorezart 8:26 am on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Cherries on Top of a Hot Fudge Sundae – That’s What Your Post Titles Are. As Usual a Real Treat

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:12 pm on November 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for that delicious compliment. This calls for a song which complements your comment:

      Like

    • quirkywritingcorner 8:45 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
      I’ve always loved Rhapsody in Blue!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:03 pm on December 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you!
      Rhapsody in Blue?
      Me too.

      Like

    • geo. raymond 11:20 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      “When it’s sleepy-time down south” has been on my playlist these past couple weeks. “I can’t get started” is one of my all time favorites. Brilliant Berrigan solo.

      Liked by 1 person

    • geo. raymond 11:25 pm on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Rhapsody In Blue is like nothing else in the world. Gershwin left us way too soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:18 am on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Absolutely right on both counts (and I don’t mean Basie)!

        Gershwin and Bunny Berrigan both left us way too soon — as did another B.B., Bix Beiderbecke, who (next to Louis Armstrong) was the greatest cornet player of the 1920s. Like Berrigan, Bix was an alcoholic and left a legacy of classic jazz recordings before he died in 1931 at the age of 28.

        Liked by 1 person

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