The Night Beat — Duke Ellington 1939 – 1942
On February 23, on the Night Beat it’s music from the Duke Ellington Orchestra circa 1939-1942 and trumpet player/composer Johnny Carisi.
Many Ellington and Billy Strayhorn classics were recorded by this edition of the band including In A Mellotone, Take the “A” Train, The “C” Jam Blues, I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) and What Am I Here For. We’ll feature all of these and more for a very special Winter Pledge Drive edition of The Night Beat.
Over the years, Duke Ellington’s band of 1939 to 1942 has become known as the Blanton-Webster Band. Jimmy Blanton was the band’s bassist from 1939 until tuberculosis forced his departure in 1941. Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster joined the band in 1940.
On January 1, 1941, the music licensing agency ASCAP declared a ban on radio airplay of ASCAP songs. As Duke Ellington was an ASCAP composer and with the number of live remote broadcasts performed by the Ellington band, Billy Strayhorn and Duke’s son Mercer Ellington were tasked with writing an entirely new book for radio airplay. Their compositions were licensed by the upstart Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) as a way to circumvent the ASCAP decree. Problem solved. At least temporarily.
Effective August 1, 1942, the American Federation of Musicians union (AFM) put in place a ban on commercial recordings of music. The Ellington band’s last recording session took place on July 28. 1942. Ellington would not return to a recording studio until December 1, 1944, after the ban was lifted.
We also note the 100th anniversary of the birth of trumpet player and composer Johnny Carisi. He played with bandleaders Charlie Barnet, Claude Thornhill, and others in the late 1930s and 1940s. He is best known for composing “Israel”, a song recorded in the late 1940s by the Miles Davis Nonet for what we now call “The Birth of the Cool” sessions and “Springsville” which appeared on the Miles Davis/Gil Evans collaboration “Miles Ahead” released in 1957.
Carisi wrote a number of chamber works for various ensembles, composed and arranged music for television, and orchestrated the musical “Something About Ann” choreographed by his wife Gemze de Lappe.
KUVO will be in the middle of its Winter Membership Drive at the time this show airs on February 23. When you make a pledge of financial support to KUVO, please take a moment to tell the phone volunteer or make a comment if you’re pledging online about the KUVO programming you enjoy, especially if it’s The Night Beat. Your feedback is invaluable in ensuring KUVO’s evening jazz programming continues for years to come. Thank you!
Be sure to tune in on Wednesday, February 23, at 8 pm for more and Duke Ellington Orchestra and Jazz Beyond Category.
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