The Chronological Duke Ellington & His Orchestra 1924-1927

Classics 539

Good Sound And Lots Of Music: Ellington Reissues On Classics

The Classics Chronological series on Ellington is not to be missed. Classics has plenty of albums out and good sound as well. The liner notes could be more extensive, but no other company is this far along in reissuing Ellington.

Classics includes one well-choosen photograph on each album. Here is the photo from the first album. The caption, too small to read, states: "From left to right, Duke, Joe Nanton, Sonny Greer, Bubber Miley, Harry Carney, Wellman Braud, Rudy Jackson, Freddy Guy, Nelson Kincaid, Ellsworth Reynolds (circa 1926)." Who are those last two guys?

Ellington didn't exactly emerge, fully-formed, from the head of Zeus. Some of these early pieces give no hint of the greatness that was to come. Still there are a few early classics and trumpeter Bubber Miley is almost always a delight. Ellington's early theme, East St Louis Toodle-Oo, appears in three versions (Ellington often recorded the same tune under different names for different labels in the early days). The famous Black And Tan Fantasy also appears in its first version. These two get the most press, but Hop Head deserves a careful listen as well.

Date Track Title (Composer) [Vocalist]
nov24 1 Choo Choo (Gotta Hurry Home) (Ellington-Ringle-Schafer)
nov24 2 Rainy Nights (Ellington-Trent-Lopez)
circa 11sep25 3 I'm Gonna Hang Around My Sugar (Palmer-Williams)
circa 11sep25 4 Trombone Blues (Nixon-Williams)
circa 18mar26 5 Georgia Grind (Williams)
circa 18mar26 6 Parlor Social Stomp (Ellington)
circa 30mar26 7 (You've Got Those) Wanna-Go-Back-Again Blues (Turk-Handman)
[Sonny Greer, vocal]
circa 30mar26 8 If You Can't Hold The Man You Love (Fain-Kahal)
[Sonny Greer, vocal]
21jun26 9 I'm Just Wild About Animal Crackers In My Soup (Coslow-Rich-Link)
21jun26 10 Li'l Farina (Smith-Mier)
29nov26 11 East St Louis Toodle-Oo (Ellington-Miley)
29nov26 12 Birmingham Breakdown (Ellington)
29dec26 13 Immigration Blues (Ellington)
29dec26 14 The Creeper (Ellington)
3feb27 15 New Orleans Low Down (Ellington)
3feb27 16 Song Of The Cotton Field (Grainger)
28feb27 17 Birmingham Breakdown (Ellington)
14mar27 18 East St Louis Toodle-Oo (Ellington-Miley)
22mar27 19 East St Louis Toodle-Oo (Ellington-Miley)
22mar27 20 Hop Head (Ellington-Hardwick)
22mar27 21 Down In Our Alley Blues (Ellington-Hardwick)
7apr27 22 Black And Tan Fantasy (Ellington-Miley)
30apr27 23 Soliloquy (Ellington-Bloom)