From the Record Shelves #247

Troubled Waters

RCA Vintage Series LPV-506

When this LP just came out in the middle of the 1960s, I borrowed it from a friend and recorded it on reel-to-reel tape. Now I have a well-kept copy that used to belong to the American Library at Stockholm University.

Since the recordings belong to an Ellington period between the sensational jungle-style band of the 20s and the highlight of the orchestra in the beginning of the 40s, they had never been released on LP before. Even today, they may belong to the lesser-known Ellingtonia. 

Good management, both economically and musically, kept the band together during the depression. Among their more spectacular activities were their first visit to Europe in 1933 and a trip to Hollywood the following year. It was on this last occasion that they, besides making an appearance in two movies, also recorded this tune from one of them. It’s from Belle of the Nineties with Mae West, and we hear a good open trumpet from Cootie Williams with “Tricky Sam” Nanton’s growling trombone in the middle eight bars.

Then comes Ivie Anderson, a well-schooled and sensitive singer who was to become the band’s most popular vocalist in the coming years, until bad health forced her to quit in 1942.

Last but not least, we can enjoy the Duke’s arranging skills.