During the spring of 1962, trumpeter Cootie Williams was still working with the Benny Goodman band. “Sometimes Goodman would let you play,” Williams said, “and other times he wouldn’t. He has his ways as everyone knows…. I’d been talking with Harry Carney. ‘Tell Duke…that I’m ready to come back.’”
He rejoined the Duke’s orchestra in September 1962. “He provided a sense of stability in the trumpet section,” Mercer Ellington said. “There had been a lot of changes.”
Here is a hair-raising example of “stability in the trumpet section,” a growling sound, Cootie, the greatest story-teller on trumpet is back to the line. What majesty, what beauty! This is a roaring take of Minnie the Moocher, recorded December, 1962, New York City. With Cootie Williams; Roy Burrows; Cat Anderson; Lawrence Brown; Chuck Connors; Buster Cooper; Johnny Hodges; Jimmy Hamilton; Russell Procope; Paul Gonsalves; Harry Carney; Ernie Shepard; Sam Woodyard. Though it was recorded in 1962, remained in shelf until duke’s passing. Then under supervision of Stanley Dance appeared in Recollection of the big band era LP. The tune is arranged by Eddie Barefield (1909–91), a saxophonist, clarinetist and arranger most noteworthy for his work with Bennie Moten, Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, Coleman Hawkins, Sammy Price, Bernie Young, and Ben Webster.
This is the first recording of Cootie Williams with Duke, at least, first we can hear – not necessarily in chronological order - since the November of 1940. Oh God! 22 years have been passed!