Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”

With apologies for the unannounced hiatus, I’d like to welcome myself back to the web, with the caveat, however, that this post and any that may follow in the next couple days will likely be a mere deviation from the current trend of not posting. That said, the blog should be back in full swing at the end of the summer, when I return to the civilized world and a high speed internet connection. But let’s get to the matter at hand: Duke Ellington’s excellent 1927 composition “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo.”

I’ve started watching Ken Burns’ Jazz lately to educate myself in a genre that you may notice I appreciate, enjoy and respect, but know very little about, outside the work of Mingus, Parker and Gillespie. (And even then…) This educational journey has led me to start developing my knowledge of the early greats: Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Jelly Roll Morton, King Oliver and, of course, Duke Ellington. This platter from Ellington caught my attention, for obvious reasons. “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo” has a great dark plodding vibe cut through with a beautifully menacing and somehow “knowing” plunger-muted trumpet, courtesy pioneering trumpet-player Bubber Miley. The ascending minor-key melody has a haunting sway that just kills me. Dig it.

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra, “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”

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