Duke Ellington: Jungle Nights in Harlem


Jungle Nights in Harlem


Duke Ellington (piano)


Jungle Nights in Harlem (RCA 82499)

Buy Track


Duke Ellington (piano), Arthur Whetsol (trumpet), Cootie Williams (trumpet), Freddy Jenkins (trumpet), Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone), Juan Tizol (trombone), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Johnny Hodges (soprano sax, alto sax), Harry Carney (clarinet, baritone sax), Wellman Braud (bass), Fred Guy (banjo), Sonny Greer (drums).

Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: New York, June 4, 1930


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

"The grotesque spectacle of Harlem nightclubs for all-white audiences," historian Ted Gioia believes, "served to mitigate, however clumsily, the currents of racism that were running rampant in other social institutions. In America, music was the first sphere of social interaction in which racial barriers were challenged and overturned." The Cotton Club—an oasis of glamour in Depression-era Harlem—provided grotesquely spectacular context for Duke Ellington's "jungle music." Maintaining his dignity in this racially compromised setting made Ellington a star. Creating works of musical genius in the same setting, Duke exposed the inherent obscenity of relegating civilized people to imaginary jungles.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

Tags: · · ·

Comments are closed.