Take The “A” Train

Ray Nance with Duke Ellington

December 10, 1913 – January 28, 1976

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Ray Nance was Duke Ellington’s trumpeter for over twenty years during which he proved an indispensable addition to his Orchestra.

Five jazz films were commissioned by a corporate sponsor during the early 1960s.

One they opened with this performance of the Duke Ellington Orchestra classic “Take the ‘A’ Train” featuring Ray Nance’s famous trumpet solo recorded shortly after he replaced Cootie Williams in 1940.

The solo became so prevalent among jazz musicians over the next two decades that when Cootie Williams returned to the band in 1962 he had little trouble duplicating it.


Ray Nance, trumpet
Shorty Baker, trumpet
Cat Anderson, trumpet
Bill Berry, trumpet
Ed Mullens, trumpet
Lawrence Brown, trombone
Leon Cox, trombone
Chuck Connors, trombone
Russell Procope, alto sax
Johnny Hodges, alto sax
Paul Gonsalves, tenor sax
Jimmy Hamilton, clarinet & tenor sax
Harry Carney, baritone sax
Duke Ellington, piano
Aaron Bell, bass
Sam Woodyard, drums


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