October 9, 2007

"Sophisticated Lady"

Wikipedia entry:

"Sophisticated Lady" is a jazz standard, composed as an instrumental in 1932 by Duke Ellington, to which words were added by Mitchell Parish and Irving Mills. The words met with approval from Ellington, who described them as "wonderful — but not entirely fitted to my original conception."

That original conception was inspired by three of Ellington's grade school teachers. "They taught all winter and toured Europe in the summer. To me that spelled sophistication."

Here are Duke Ellington and His Orchestra in 1943, as documented by this RKO Pictures short feature. The band begins by playing "Mood Indigo," another Ellington composition:

From Jazz Standards:

Duke Ellington and His Orchestra introduced “Sophisticated Lady” with a 1933 recording that featured solos by Toby Hardwick (alto sax), Barney Bigard (clarinet), Lawrence Brown (trombone), and Ellington (piano). The recording entered the pop charts on May 27 and stayed there for 16 weeks, rising to number three. The flip side of the record, “Stormy Weather,” enjoyed nearly the same fortune, rising to number four.

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