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Night Lights Classic Jazz

Duke Ellington: The Treasury Shows, May 1945

The "May 1945" edition finds World War II ending in Europe, something we hear Duke Ellington acknowledge several times throughout this program...

As part of our daily presentation this week of several big-band shows that I did in 2005 devoted to Duke Ellington’s Treasury shows, the Tuesday “May 1945” edition finds World War II ending in Europe, something we hear Duke Ellington acknowledge several times throughout this program in his pitches for U.S. war bonds on “Your Date With the Duke,” the Saturday-afternoon radio show sponsored in 1945 and 1946 by the Treasury Department. With an invasion of Japan appearing imminent and necessary, the “Mighty Seventh” bond drive was begun, with a goal of seven billion dollars. This show, drawn from Ellington’s broadcasts throughout May, features arrangements of Ellington songbook-classics “Solitude” and “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” that feature all four of the then-current Ellington vocalists (Kay Davis, Joya Sherrill, Marie Ellington, and Al Hibbler), lesser-heard numbers such as “Everything But You” and “Teardrops in the Rain,” features for trombonist Lawrence Brown (“I Miss Your Kiss” and the little-known “Blue Cellophane”) and interpretations of pop hits of the day, including “I Should Care” and “Sentimental Journey.”

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