Duke Ellington: Caravan (1936)
Barney Bigard And His Jazzopators
The Duke's Men: Small Groups, Vol. 1 (Columbia C2K-46995)
Composed by Duke Ellington, Juan Tizol & Irving Mills. Arranged by Duke Ellington.
Recorded: Hollywood, December 19, 1936
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
Duke Ellington's first "Caravan" set off from Hollywood five months before his better-known 1937 big-band excursion departed New York. The journey was cloaked in mystery. Asked our destination, Duke said only, "Expect sand." That could've meant Malibu. Duke chuckled, "Lots of sand." So the Sahara was not entirely a shock. Upon arrival, a local official demanded to know why we were there. "We came," said Duke, "for the waters." The official sputtered, "We're in the desert!" Duke slyly tugged his ear and replied, "I was misinformed." Cootie, Carney and Barney are all masterful here, but co-composer Tizol's valve trombone is unforgettable.
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz