Take The A Train – 1964

Duke Ellington

“An unusual version of Duke Ellington’s theme song”

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On this rare film clip from 1964, Duke Ellington begins by introducing the composer of “Take The ‘A’ Train,” Billy Strayhorn, from the audience to some rousing applause.

He then launches a version of his theme, saying that it will be an operatic version.

After a chorus, bassist Ernie Shepherd sings in a high voice, at first the lyrics before scatting along with his bass.

This is one of the few times that Shepherd was featured singing with the band, making this version a bit of a collector’s item.

-Scott Yanow


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