27 ene. 2009

(90)

Ellington. Never No Lament: The Blanton/Webster Years

This is a three cd set I have been listening to since Christmas and gradually absorbing. I'm not crazy about the vocal numbers. Ivie Anderson anyone? They seem to date faster than the instrumentals, because of their "novelty tune" character. I don't know what the technical definition of a novelty song is; I just think it as a catchy song with a stupid lyric.

This was Ellington's band with bassist Jimmy Blanton and tenor sax Ben Webster, but it was also the band that Billy Strayhorn first contributed to, in the early 40s. It represents one of the high points of Ellingtonia, even if you can't stand Tricky Sam Nanton. One of the pleasures is finding lesser known tunes. Everyone's heard "Cottontail" or "Take the A-Train," which are also here.

"Never No Lament" is actually the same tune as "Don't Get Around Much Any More," just like "Concerto for Cootie" is also better known as "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me."