Saturday, May 31, 2014

Teddy Wilson Plays Duke Ellington

Recently surfaced on the Internet, here is Teddy Wilson performing a couple of Ellington/Strayhorn compositions on July 1975 (the location is probably France).

Early in his career as a solo artist, Wilson recorded some Earl Hines for whom he had high regards, but he never put any Ellington on disc. Towards the end of the 30s, he was better off recording his own compositions as unaccompanied piano pieces. In the late 50s, tired of playing the same standards for the millionth time, he discovered or rediscovered Ellington. However, in retrospect, his casual recordings of Ellington materials feels more like a case of repertoire expansion rather than treasuring the Duke, as on the same period he tried some bop tunes on the record.

Here he plays Take the "A" Train (once recorded in Wilson's 1967 Easy Living LP on Black Lion), followed by It Don't Mean a Thing. The rhythm section is Harley White (bass) and Eddie Graham (drums).

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