I’m currently researching a Duke Ellington related post for my Reasons To Be Cheerful series, specifically focusing on the Billy Strayhorn tune, Take The A Train. I just love that tune!
I thought I’d share a couple of videos I’ve discovered. Here is the Charles Mingus sextet performing Take The A Train, featuring Eric Dolphy and Jacky Byard. It was recorded in 1964 at Oslo University. Byard’s solo contains many different elements from the history of jazz piano. Gorgeous.
Here is a video of Billy Strayhorn taking control of the keys. It’s both moving and tragic. I find it moving because of the hesitant, reserved entrance onto the stage Strayhorn portrayals, then the obvious pleasure Strayhorn exudes playing his most famous tune. In contrast to this it’s tragic to see Paul Gonsalves in such a state.
An interesting version of Take The A Train I’ve recently discovered is Bobby Wellins’ 1983 take from his album Making Light Work. It’s well worth purchasing to hear his re-worked melody-line and swinging solo.
To finish then, here is probably Britain’s most famous slice of Ellingtonia, Stan Tracey’s Starless and Bible Black, featuring Bobby Wellins.