Posted 8 years ago
As an amateur musician who usually just played non-lead parts in a concert band, I was aware of some of Duke Ellington's music but not much.
One day, on the way home from work, I heard this recording of Daybreak Express on the car radio. http://www.jazz-on-line.com/a/ramc/VIC77201-1.ram
The technique of the musicians, particularly the reeds, blew my mind. When the announcer said it was from a newly released CD, I stopped at a record store to buy it. That CD has around 22 recordings made between 1927 and 1934. While there, I also picked up a mislabelled CD called Duke Ellington All-Star Road Band Vol. II, which was recorded at a dance in Carrolltown, Penn. in 1957. That turned out to be a wonderful example of the mature Ellington's work.
The two CDs ignited my passion for music written or performed by this man and his band. While I had previously enjoyed a great many big band recordings from the swing era, once I started listening to Duke, everyone else was far less interesting.
So, since buying these two CDs, I have made Ellington my hobby. I have:
1. formed my own rehearsal band to play his music;
2. developed several websites devoted to the man and his music,
3. read several biographies and reference books,
4. bought between 400 and 500 CDs of his music,
5. attended Ellington conferences in Hollywood, Stockholm and London,
6. been an active participant in the international Ellington community, forming friendships around the world.
If you want to see what it's all about, visit my main website, http://ellingtonweb.ca My other pages can be accessed from there.