Duke Ellington: The Blues With a Feelin'


The Blues With a Feelin'


Duke Ellington (piano)


The Okeh Ellington (Columbia C2K 46177)

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Duke Ellington (piano), Johnny Hodges (clarinet, soprano & alto saxes), Joe "Tricky Sam" Nanton (trombone),

Arthur Whetsol, Bubber Miley, Fred Jenkins (trumpet), Barney Bigard (clarinet, tenor sax), Harry Carney (clarinet, alto & baritone saxes), Fred Guy (banjo), Wellman Braud (bass), Sonny Greer (drums)


Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: New York, November 22, 1928


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

"The Blues With a Feelin'" is an apt title for this track. With the Ellington band's usual fine backing, there are superb solos from "Tricky Sam" Nanton, Johnny Hodges, and presumably Arthur Whetsol. The tune opens and ends with lovely clarinet duet lines. After the opening, Nanton plays a higher-range, very melodious trombone solo with gorgeous tone and some punch. That effectively sets the stage for a soaring, soulful soprano sax solo by Johnny Hodges that is nicely constructed, with well-placed use of bluesy slurs. The impact of Johnny's inspiration and mentor of a few years earlier, Sidney Bechet, is especially evident here, right down to the intense, Bechet-style vibrato. Whetsol (or is it Miley?) contributes some fine muted trumpet lines that carry on perfectly, in tone and style, from the Hodges solo. This track is an excellent example of how the sophisticated gentleman Ellington, with key-note help from his superb soloists, could offer up soulful blues. Especially with Johnny Hodges, this is, indeed, "the blues with a feelin'."

Reviewer: Dean Alger

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