Bringing alive the music of Duke Ellington

Transcriptions by Michael Kilpatrick

Towards the end of 1943 there was some fluidity in Duke Ellington's trumpet section, resulting eventually in a consistent selection of five musicians. However, many of the compositions from this period were still scored for four trumpets, with the additional player used only for solos. The transcriptions presented from this period may have either or four or five trumpets.

As well as the occasional addition of scores from other composer or arrangers such as Mary Lou Williams, the post World War II period saw further change in the sound of Ellington's orchestra - a little more looseness and a change in the balance, perhaps partly owing to the growth of the brass section. The end of this post-war Ellington period is demarcated by the dramatic exit of Johnny Hodges, Lawrence Brown and percussionist Sonny Greer. With the disappearance of guitarist Freddie Green also, we see an end to the sort of rhythm section that Ellington had maintained for many years, and the loss of two important soloists.