Duke Ellington, The Wise Musician, and Cootie Williams

Buck Clayton wrote that Duke Ellington threw p...
Duke Ellington

I love this man’s music. And last February, after hearing a smoking middle school septet (yes, I wrote that correctly) do a superb version of Duke’s Black and Tan Fantasy, I think it’s safe to say Duke’s music will be a long-lasting legacy.

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

Here’s a vid, a short bio on the man. The gem comes around 2:40. “Every musician in the world has some limitation. There is no musician in the world who has no limitation…. But, the wise players are those who play what they can master.”

He also speaks about how and why he writes, and what circumstances help him write. Probably my favorite Duke tune is East St. Louis Toodle-oo. Something about Bubber Miley/Cootie Williams’s plunger work is just great!

If you’re unfamiliar with Duke, check out the Ken Burns collection. A good selection. Here’s a 1927 recording of East St. Louis Toodle-oo with Bubber Miley on trumpet. And here’s an MP3 of the tune you can buy.

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Duke was famous for writing tunes for specific performers. Here’s the tune he wrote for trumpeter Cootie Williams.

Here’s another Duke Ellington trumpeter,
Cootie Williams: Concerto for Cootie

Want to learn more about the best ways to practice? Get an e-mail with a discount code when The Practice of Practice by Jonathan Harnum is published (June, 2014). To learn more about the book, check out a sample from The Practice of Practice.

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