He also recorded songs written by musicians in his band, such as “Caravan”, which brought a Spanish tinge to big band jazz. At the end of the 1930s, Ellington began a nearly thirty-year collaboration with composer Billy Strayhorn, with whom he composed a wide variety of suites, and many great songs. After a quieter time following the War, an appearance by Ellington and his orchestra at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956 led to a major revival and regular world tours.
Saxophonist Andy Williamson has performed with Tom Robinson, Suggs, Martha Reeves & the Vandellas, and even at Buckingham Palace. In addition he has played sax (sometimes while abseiling) with the Honkin’ Hep Cats, and formed the Big Buzzard Boogie Band. He is the perfect musician to interpret Duke Ellington’s work, as recently he directed a performance of Ellington’s ‘Sacred Concert’ at the Bristol Jazz Festival.
Duke Ellington’s great songs include ‘Satin Doll’, ‘Sophisticated Lady’, ‘Mood Indigo’ and ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)’.