Returning to my A to Z Challenge Birthday Book theme, today is the day the world welcomed Edward Kennedy Ellington, better known as Duke Ellington, the inspirational band leader, composer, arranger and musician.

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Celebrating the fact, and taking the A to Z train to our penultimate stop, here are three Ellington compositions that all have a ‘Y’ component:

Black Butterfly:

A cast-iron Ellington classic, Black Beauty:

…and concluding with this vinyl delight from 1937, co-written with Rex Stewart. Sugar Hill Shim Sham, alternate title “You Ain’t in Harlem Now”:

Happy Birthday your Grace!

Imagine my delight at returning home to discover that my esteemed father-in-law had dropped round and left a book he no longer requires and thought I might like to have.

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This is the 1968 revised edition of A Pictorial History of Jazz, compiled by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer Jr. It’s as comprehensive a tome as any jazz-and-bibliophile might ever wish to get their grateful mitts on.

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For today’s A to Z Challenge purposes, page 251 is of particular interest:

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Featuring Sarah Vaughan, and Charlie Ventura.

The vestiges of the evening shall be devoted to a voyage of discovery through this venerable volume of virtuoso visuals!

Today, we celebrate the jazz musicians Miff Mole and Bennie Moten.

It’s not Mole’s birthday, although we are at least in the same month he died, but I like an opportunity for alliteration, as afforded yesterday by Loretta Lynn’s birthday. Also, we have a ‘pick a record’ pre-bedtime dance with the kids, and tonight our young one’s choice was Miff Mole and his Molers.

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Which led to some intense interpretive dance manoeuvres, as well as inspiring this post.
The tracks below are late-ish – 1929 – but you can hear Mole’s distinctive trombone style.

https://www.youtube.com/qq1àembed/fqIn9TUlnHY?rel=0

Next to Miff Mole and His Molers among the jazz on the shelves is another 1920s innovator,  Bennie Moten.

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There’s a fantastic looking playlist on YouTube that’s totally unavailable in the UK – boo! BOO!! – so you shall have to make do with these til I get a satisfactory means of ‘archiving’ my own copies.

First, the legendary composition by Moten and Thamon Hayes (his trombonist, coincidentally), South:

Elephant’s Wobble:

The sleeve notes on pretty much all my Moten records single out the ‘irritating’ mute clarinet effects for displeasure, although I think they’re hilarious. Given the rest of the band are doing quite as much fucking about, it seems more a mark of po-faced jazz beard strokery than there being a ‘correct’ way to which Woody Walder was not adhering. Not sure of the significance of the image of the baseball players here, but it’s the best sounding version. The raggediness of the timing on this makes my brain giddy.

Closing with this later entry from 1929…

THAT’S what I’m talking about!

To rephrase a Douglas Adams line:  time is an illusion, term time doubly so. Saturdays have become a particularly precious day in the week. Devoted to family time, catching up with my eldest time, some light pottering time (garden update imminent), then quality relaxing time, before next week starts getting all watch tappy, meaningful glances at itself on the calendar signifying a brusque ‘oi you, time to get back into work mode, it’s Sunday.’

Today has seemed especially elongated. This evening, we found ourselves hankering for some vinyl. After much rampaging toddler risk assessment, wires were untangled and we finally got the turntable going again.

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This was £2 particularly well spent at a car boot sale, a compilation of early Blue Note.

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The song playing in the turntable pic above is the Port of Harlem Jazzmen, a very mellow number. Here is the song that kicks off side 2: ‘Profoundly Blue’ by Edmond Hall’s Celeste Quartet. The group features the wonderful Charlie Christian on guitar, and is quite the soundtrack for Saturday night red wine and kids asleep time. Nice!