Friday, February 5, 2010

After Hours

Duke Ellington. Isfahan

My friend Jim sent me this gem of a clip from 1965. You get a whole lot of Johnny Hodges on the alto and as an added bonus, you have Duke acting as Johnny's music stand. My guess is that this gorgeous Strayhorn tune was still very new and Hodges hadn't yet memorized it and since Duke didn't want him crouching down and looking at the music, he consented to hold it in front of him. Well, the results speak for themselves. Hodges sounds beautiful and you kind of get used to Duke standing there holding a piece of paper. I've tried to solo over the changes to "Isfahan" and I've gotta tell you, they are devilishly hard. I abandoned them in favor of something a bit more tonally centered. I also have major troubles with "Chelsea Bridge," another Strayhorn tune. What is it with that guy?

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