Duke Ellington: Caravan (1937)




Duke Ellington (piano)


Ken Burns Jazz: Duke Ellington (Columbia/Legacy CK 61444)

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Duke Ellington (piano), Rex Stewart (cornet), Arthur Whetsol (trumpet), Cootie Williams (trumpet), Lawrence Brown (trombone), Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone), Juan Tizol (valve trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Johnny Hodges (clarinet), Otto Hardwick (alto sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Fred Guy (guitar), Billy Taylor (bass), Sonny Greer (drums).

Composed by Duke Ellington & Juan Tizol


Recorded: New York, May 14, 1937


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Ellington’s early contribution to the Latin jazz canon is a collaboration with valve trombonist Juan Tizol. “Caravan” combines the Afro-Cuban practice of elaboration over a repeating vamp section, and the American jazz tradition of passages with more harmonic variety. In this case, in the middle section Ellington references the oft-employed harmonic progression from George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” to contrast to the first theme, which is driven by a more rhythmic feel. Tizol continued to work as trombonist and collaborative composer in Ellington’s band for years to come, and the enormously popular “Caravan” stayed in Ellington’s repertoire for his entire career.

Reviewer: Mark Lomanno

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  • 1 Justine // Apr 23, 2009 at 04:52 PM
    Hi! I play this song with my school's jazz band and its an awsome song! My teacher made a solo section in it for improv but im not very good at it.