In celebration of fifty “likes” on our Facebook page, we’ll have a jubilee here at Old Time Blues, and what better way to than with the hot jazz of Duke Ellington’s Cotton Club Orchestra on two of their hottest for Victor records.
Bluebird B-6415 was recorded on two separate occasions, the first side on March 26, 1928 and the second on December 19, 1927, both in New York City. The “A” side was originally issued on Victor 21580 and “B” on Victor 21490 and again on 22985.
Given the two record dates, the two sides feature different personnel in the band. The first includes Arthur Whetsel, Bubber Miley, and Louis Metcalf in the trumpet section, “Tricky Sam” Nanton on trombone, Barney Bigard on clarinet and tenor sax, Otto Hardwicke on clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, baritone sax, and bass sax, Harry Carney on clarinet, soprano sax, alto sax, and baritone sax, Duke Ellington on piano, Fred Guy on banjo, Wellman Braud on string bass, and Sonny Greer on drums. The second features Miley and Metcalf on trumpets, Tricky Sam on trombone, Rudy Jackson on clarinet and alto sax, Otto Hardwicke and Harry Carney on all the same reeds as the first side, and Ellington, Guy, Braud, and Greer in the same positions as the previous.
One of Ellington’s best, “Jubilee Stomp” was played in 2011’s The Artist, albeit on a disgustingly inaccurate phonograph.
On “Blue Bubbles”, Ellington shares composer credit with Bubber Miley, and the piece bares some stylistic resemblance to another of Miley’s works, “Black and Tan Fantasy”.