John Hardy’s Wife
Jazz Tribune no 55, Black and White Double NL 89274
It’s hard to pick out one tune from this double album because once you get in an “Ellington mood” you like everything. I’ve chosen a tune written by Mercer Ellington that he arranged in collaboration with his father I suppose. I’m attracted by the simplicity of the tune and the treatment of it with for example a close harmony part with the trombone section. Solos from Harry Carney, baryton sax, Cootie Williams, muted trumpet and Lawrence Brown trombone enlightens further my listening experience. On the record sleeve there is a list of all the soloists which is welcome.
The wife in question seems to have been an aggressive woman, widow of a celebrated murderer, subject of an ancient ballad. John Hardy got hanged and left her with three children.