Cottontail – 1941

Duke Ellington


A fun Soundie from Ellington

Duke Ellington composed “Cotton Tail” in 1940 and the song immediately became famous due to Ben Webster’s tenor solo and a chorus by the saxophone section (written by Webster).

The flagwaver became a permanent part of Ellington’s repertoire.

In November 1941, it became one of five songs that the Duke Ellington Orchestra was filmed performing in Soundies, three-minute films that often had a little plot or an added attraction.

In this version of “Cottontail,” as Webster begins to play a bit of his famous solo, a group of virtuosic Lindy Hoppers go through their exciting and witty routines while the Ellington band plays the full arrangement.

The combination of dance and jazz works very well.

-Scott Yanow